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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES AVANT
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
VARIOUS BROADCAST APPLICATIONS /
PLUSIEURS DEMANDES EN RADIODIFFUSION
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Delta Regina Delta Regina
1919 Saskatchewan Drive 1919, promenade Saskatchewan
Regina, Saskatchewan Regina, Saskatchewan
November 3, 2006 le 3 novembre 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:
Barbara Cram Chairperson / Présidente
Michel Arpin Vice-Chair, Broadcasting / Vice‑président, radiodiffusion
Rita Cugini Commissioner / Conseillère
Ronald Williams Commissioner / Conseiller
Joan Pennefather Commissioner / Conseillère
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTES:
Chantal Boulet Secretary / Secrétaire
Leanne Bennett Legal Counsel /
Lyne Cape Hearing Manager /
Gérante de l'audience
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Delta Regina Delta Regina
1919 Saskatchewan Drive 1919, promenade Saskatchewan
Regina, Saskatchewan Regina, Saskatchewan
November 3, 2006 le 3 novembre 2006
- iv -
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
SASKATOON - PHASE III
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
629112 Saskatchewan Limited
Communications Management Inc.
Rawlco Radio Limited 1563 / 7722
The Secret Santa Foundation 1609 / 7930
Lisa Rendall 1616 / 7960
APTN, Jean LaRose
Amanda Nepper 1625 / 7998
Saskatoon Indian & Metis Friendship Centre 1646 / 8075
Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation 1651 / 8117
Robert A. Merasty 1671 / 8211
Joe Duquette High School 1677 / 8244
SASKATOON - PHASE IV
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd. 1685 / 8276
Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR) 1687 / 8287
Radio CJVR Ltd. 1692 / 8308
Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc. 1697 / 8331
Standard Radio Inc. 1698 / 8336
Harvard Broadcasting Inc. 1700 / 8350
Newcap Inc. 1703 / 8363
- v -
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR) 1710 / 8394
Regina, Saskatchewan / Regina (Saskatchewan)
‑‑‑ Upon commencing on Friday, November 3, 2006
at 0830 / L'audience reprend le vendredi
3 novembre 2006 à 0830
7714 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order please.
7715 Well, here it is, Gainer is not going just to sit in a seat. He wants to be on the side ‑‑ he wants to be, you know, down on the floor, down there. Now, it didn't help that one of our own players said he shouldn't go because he doesn't wear pants.
7716 Madam Secretary.
7717 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
7718 We are now ready to proceed to Phase III of the process in which other parties appear in the order set out in the agenda to present their intervention.
7719 I would now call on the first three appearing interveners to appear as a panel. Mr. Elmer Hildebrand as President of company 629112 Saskatchewan Limited ‑‑ and this is a correction from the agenda on which we indicated Golden West Broadcasting, Communications Management Inc., and Rawlco Radio Limited.
7720 You will have 20 minutes for the presentation. I understand Ms Pamela Leyland for Rawlco Radio will be starting.
7721 Please go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
7722 MS LEYLAND: Good morning, Madam Chair, members of the Commission.
7723 We're before you once again, this time to talk to you about Saskatoon. My name is Pam Leyland, President of Rawlco Radio. With me today are Gordon Rawlinson, CEO of Rawlco, Doug Pringle, Rawlco's Director of Programming, and some new members of our panel from Saskatoon. Marianne Vibert is our Director of Promotions and Community Relations. Marianne has been with us for 22 years and does an amazing job of connecting our stations to the community. She's sitting behind me and to my right.
7724 To Marianne's left is Jamie Wall who manages our Saskatoon stations. Jamie started with us as an announcer then became Music Director, then Program Director, and now Manager. Jamie has been with us for 17 years.
7725 Next to Jamie is Sandee Reed, the Sales Manager of News Talk 650 CKOM. Sandee knows the business community in Saskatoon extremely well. She's been with Rawlco for 19 years.
7726 Finally we have Kate Peardon, News Director of News Talk 650 CKON. Kate is one of the stars of our news operation in Saskatoon.
7728 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I'm Ken Goldstein, President of Communications Management Inc.
7729 MR. HILDEBRAND: My name is Elmer Hildebrand, I'm the President of 629112 Saskatchewan Limited, operators of three radio stations in Saskatoon. With me are to my right Vic Dubois, General Manager, long time resident of Saskatoon. And to my left, Ken McFarlane, General Sales Manager for our radio stations.
7731 MS LEYLAND: We're here to talk to you about Saskatoon, but before we begin it's Friday morning, you've had a really long week, and we have a little something to play for you. It's a song about Saskatchewan, written and produced by a couple of our very creative staff in Saskatoon. Please listen closely, I think you will get a kick out of the lyrics.
‑‑‑ Audio clip / Clip audio
7732 MS LEYLAND: Again, welcome to Saskatchewan.
7733 Despite that low blow in the song about Gordon's handwriting, I do want to say a bit about the letters that were submitted as part of our intervention. We asked our staff to go out into the community and talk to people they knew who were with community organizations and to local businesses who advertised on the stations. There was no pressure, there was no arm twisting. We just wanted to know what they thought of another station possibly coming to Saskatoon. We said if they had an opinion and they wanted to express it to the Commission to write a letter and say what they thought of the idea. The bottom line is they said how they feel.
7734 Community organizations and businesses have real concerns about another station coming to Saskatoon. We told them we would help convey their message to the Commission so that their voices could play a part in the decision‑making process.
7735 We also wanted the people who listen to radio in Saskatoon to have a voice. We had an independent research survey done to try and find out what they thought of radio in Saskatoon and whether they felt there was a need for an additional musical choice. What they told us was that they liked the radio they have and they had no problem listening to the music they like.
7736 So we feel that as well as looking at economic indicators as criteria for determining if the city will benefit from another radio station, the feelings of the people, the listeners, should be considered. It's the public, the listeners, who are the ones that will be affected by your decision. What we have tried to do through our interventions in Regina and Saskatoon is to give them a chance to have a voice.
7737 MR. RAWLINSON: You know, this is very different. We'd never intervened against other applicants. In my 35 years in radio I think this is the first time that we have done it. Radio in Saskatchewan is still very good. It's not big business. My father used to say, put so much local information on the radio that people will be afraid to tune out because they might miss something. You know, I'm as big a booster of Saskatoon and Saskatchewan as anyone. I care about Regina and Saskatoon.
7738 Pam and her team really do run excellent full service radio stations, so why are expenses so high, because our service is very good and News Talk done very well, with a very high level of local, is very expensive. In fact, right now there is a high level of service from both companies. I just have a couple more comments. In Saskatoon we think every potential advertiser is known and called on. There are no hidden pockets of potential new money. We really do cover all the bases and do an excellent job of sales. My estimate would be that at least 80 percent of the advertisers for a new station will come from the existing six stations. On this note, none of the applicants are proposing music that is really different and all of the listeners will come from the existing stations. I can virtually guarantee there will be no increase in total tuning in Saskatoon.
7739 We know how to do lean and mean radio, but I don't like it at all. It takes away everything I like about radio. It starts us down a slippery slope to juke box radio.
7740 So, Madam Chair, and members of the Commission, this is the most important thing that I want to leave you with. No matter what you decide, Rawlco will continue to do its utmost to serve Saskatoon, and Regina for that matter, to the very best of our ability.
7741 Thank you.
7742 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Madam Chair, and Commissioners, I have taken to heart your admonitions and fore‑brevity. As we stated earlier in this hearing, there is one fundamental question that needs to be addressed. Do the economic indicators tell us that the market is capable of supporting a new commercial radio station?
7743 Based on the information summarized in our report, we believe that the economic indicators for the Saskatoon Radio market are not favourable to the licensing of any new commercial radio stations at this time.
7744 I'm going to very briefly touch on the key indicators. Population, the Conference Board is projecting that Saskatoon's population will grow by just two and a half percent over the five years from 2005 to 2010. That is better than Regina, but still significantly lower than the comparable growth rate for Canada.
7745 Second, GDP. The Conference Board is predicting that the real GDP growth for Saskatoon in 2009 and 2010 will be half of what it was in 2005. For Canada the real GDP growth rate is projected to be slightly higher in 2010 than it was in 2005. By 2010 the real GDP growth rate for Saskatoon is projected to be about 20 percent lower than the growth rate for Canada.
7746 Retail sales. Using data for Saskatoon, again from the Conference Board we see that the growth rate for retail sales spiked in 2005 and is projected to be lower from 2008 to 2010. And as I noted previously, the recent reduction of the provincial sales tax from 7 percent to 5 percent may have a modest, but short‑term effect.
7747 Fourth, radio revenues. From 1996 to 2003 private radio revenues in Saskatoon grew more slowly than was the case for radio in Canada. From 2003 to 2005, there was a brief growth spurt, however, based on the data for 2006 that we have seen, the growth spurt is over and private radio in Saskatoon, again, has a lower growth rate than radio across Canada.
7748 And fifth and final, radio profitability. And as noted in our report, pBIT levels in Saskatoon Radio are substantially lower than the Canadian average.
7749 Thank you.
7750 MR. HILDEBRAND: Madam Chair, Commissioners. First of all, maybe some history on radio in Saskatoon would be in order. Generally we all have relatively short memories, and the Commission changes, Commission staff changes, so the following may not be well‑known to today's Commission.
7751 Only a few years ago the radio picture in Saskatoon was in a shambles. One station was in bankruptcy and another station was floundering like a fish out of water creating havoc in the market by trying to sell ads for rates du jour. Program changes done poorly were frequent and generally radio did not have a very good reputation in the city. At that time you could not have ‑‑ you could not have garnered the great many letters of support that you have seen filed with the Commission for this hearing.
7752 And I wonder, where were all the applicants you have heard from for the Saskatoon market at that time? They could have purchased existing stations at the stress prices any time. Part of the problem then was that the Commission of the day had issued a licence to someone who never ever worked at a radio station, but because he said, "It has always been my dream to have a radio station," he was granted licence. His dream came true and a nightmare followed.
7753 I ended up buying both of these two stations in Saskatoon and we have been able to bring to the city a degree of professionalism that has elevated the stature of radio dramatically. As the Commission knows, all of this comes at tremendous cost and a lot of patience, and those of you that know me, I have a lot of patience. However, any new station in Saskatoon will dramatically impact our financial wellbeing.
7754 As the Commission knows, my group of stations in Saskatoon are currently incurring losses each year, so even though the stations are losing money, I don't like it, but I can sustain it for now, but larger losses would not be sustainable. The majority of commercial radio stations in Saskatoon, both AM and FM, have suffered financial difficulties over the years, several times have had change of ownership, and all the stand‑alone radio stations have been bought and sold, they couldn't sustain themselves. So Saskatoon is not and has not been a booming radio market.
7755 We have maintained our service to the community at very high levels as is clearly demonstrated by all the letters that you have already seen. To do full service radio requires a lot of creative writers, sales reps, producers, news people, announcers, promotion people, and on and on it goes. You can do high cost full service radio or low marginal radio service. And again, as the Commission knows, my choice is always to do full service radio.
7756 We have contributed one million dollars in Canadian talent development in our first licensed term at Magic, our newest FM station. We have also maintained a full service at CJWW, our heritage AM station, and have maintained the only country music format on FM at Hot 93. And we are playing 40 percent Cancon on all three stations. And we're playing a lot of Saskatchewan produced music.
7757 All three stations as a group complement very well the other radio stations in the market. The existing Saskatoon Radio stations cover all the major formats and all age groups. And, you know, no wonder every applicant is applying for a different format. If there was an obvious hole in the market, several applicants would surely have applied for the same format.
7758 The Commission also knows in Saskatoon that Rawlco is a fierce competitor, but we have managed to carve out an audience and an advertiser loyalty that enabled us to show annual modest sales growth until 2005, however, this growth stopped in 2006. Our total sales in 2006 were lower than in 2005. Much of the national business is disappearing. The reason for this is described by Patrick Risson(ph), the President of CBS, in a letter to the Commission that national revenue in Saskatoon is down, and we would like to quote. "The reason for this decline is due to the inelastic advertising budgets funding significant increase in demand and price in major markets, specifically Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto." We have heard that Toronto radio billings are up 25 percent since 2003. Much of that money comes from Saskatchewan. As prices increase in Toronto, overall national budgets don't necessarily increase, so in order to satisfy those markets, Saskatoon, Regina budgets are decreased, not to mention other markets in Saskatchewan.
7759 We don't see this trend changing anytime soon. Patrick Risson goes on to say, "Our most relevant and important comment on these proceedings is that the addition of new radio stations in Saskatoon will not result in any new national advertising becoming available. The money already there will just be split between more stations."
7760 The other thing that we have heard a number of times at the hearing is that, you know, there are a lot of new businesses coming to Saskatoon. Well, to some extent that may be true, some of the big box stores are arriving. The Home Depots, Wal‑Marts and Costcos, however, interestingly they don't spend any money on national advertising, and generally don't even spend local advertising money. What they do do, they drive out of business altogether some of the smaller businesses that we normally would do business with. So that means that our local revenues will also not go up because of big box stores.
7761 So to recap, we project continuing small losses for the next few years under current conditions. I can sustain these losses and can commit to the Commission that no reduction in service is going to take place under the current landscape, and we will continue to make Canadian Talent Development contributions. This, however, would change dramatically if the Commission were to license any new stations.
7762 Upon the appearance of a new applicant, the following would likely develop. Rates would be cut and this would reduce our overall revenue going forward. We would be forced to spend considerably more on promotion. Our operating cost would increase due to the poaching of staff. Available national money would be split further resulting in even greater reductions in revenue. All of this will add up to dramatic increase in losses in my stations in Saskatoon, and if this happens we will have to reduce overall community service, delay planned upgrading of equipment and facilities. The unintended consequences would see the City of Saskatoon getting a much more watered down radio service. Right now the city is one of the best served in Canada. This will be in jeopardy if the Commission renews any ‑‑ or issues any new licences prematurely.
7763 And we all have to remember Saskatchewan is not a growing province. It is a province with a declining population. Much as we would like to see it otherwise, we don't see it changing anytime soon.
7764 Right now we have 13 radio stations in the city, six commercial stations, two CBC English, two CBC French, a community station, a religious station, and one Aboriginal repeater station. With all that choice and all the choice on the Internet, iPod, CD, satellite, and so on, the public is not demanding more radio, and yet in a province of less than one million people, there are 33 commercial stations in Saskatchewan. At that rate Calgary alone should have about 33 commercial stations, so I can see already that many of the applicants will want to reapply in Calgary.
7765 I find it amazing that in 1940 Saskatchewan was larger than Alberta and B.C. We were the third most populated province in the country, and yet studies have stated that by 2030 there will actually be fewer people than there are now in Saskatchewan.
7766 So adding an additional station comes at a cost. It will increase the costs of my stations, reduce our audiences and reduce our revenue. Over time this has to impact the level of service we can provide.
7767 The question that needs to be asked, I guess, does the benefit of a little increased musical diversity outweigh the cost of reduced service in a smaller city like Saskatoon. When I envision Saskatoon with a new seventh commercial radio station, I can't think of one thing that the city would be better for. Overlicensing is therefore a real concern as it relates to Saskatoon, and overlicensing is something that I've talked to the Commission about before. And that really concludes my intervention, and we'll be happy to answer any questions.
7768 Thank you.
7769 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7770 Commissioner Pennefather.
7771 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
7772 Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
7773 Mr. Hildebrand, I was following your notes, actually you've amplified, considerably, your written intervention, and I thank you for that. So I don't have too many questions, but let me just be sure I heard you correctly. In going through the lists of ‑‑ your list of what might happen if we were to license in Saskatoon, you used the word prematurely, and that would seem to mean to me that there might be a point where it would not be a case of overlicensing, but appropriate. As you know, we've been discussing what issues the Commission should look at in making that assessment.
7774 I think you went through quite a few in your comments this morning, but could you just take us back to perhaps what you consider to be the most important areas we should look at when it wouldn't be premature?
7775 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, I think we've heard a fair bit in the last week, a variety of very rosy projections and rosy futures. And for those of us who have been working in Saskatchewan for a long time, we've heard those often. Every few years there is projections and predictions that you will take Saskatchewan through ‑‑ up to the moon, but, you know, that hasn't happened. And so my premise would be that if all of those rosy productions that we've heard over the last week, you know, actually come about, then there would be no reason in four or five years that we could look at this again, and, you know, if, in fact, the City of Saskatoon becomes a city of 250,000 in the next few years, well, then dynamics would change. But, you know, our history in the province has always been sort of slow and steady, slow and steady, but at the end of the day always a little lower. And every year we seem to lose a few people, and especially in our younger demos, they move to Alberta or other places, and so we have, you know, a province that is very proud, we have a lot of people that are true blue Saskatchewanites and will support the province to their dying breath, but that doesn't give us the number of people, and as Ken Goldstein talked about the other day, even though there may be a few more people in Saskatoon this year than last year, mostly they moved from their farms in the surrounding areas. It doesn't provide any more ears in the entire greater region. And so that's what our biggest concern is.
7776 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I take that point, and I think you have itemized for us some of your concerns. I heard also you used the term, it's not wise when the only gain would be a little more music diversity. But surely we're looking at other, as you know, in our looking at our criteria for licensing other kinds of diversity. What's your sense of the balance, though, in different voices, different editorial voices, different ownership, and is it not ‑‑ isn't it more than just a question of a little bit of music diversity? Aren't there other more as important diversity points to be raised when we're looking at licensing or not?
7777 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, surely they could be looked at, but we have Global television here, we have CTV television, very strong newspaper. We have four ‑‑ or two CBC radio stations, plus a community channel. So there is a lot of diversity. We also have some newspaper publications that are free delivery, so there is additional publications in the area that provide diversity as far as news and information.
7778 My premise is that the City of Saskatoon is very, very adequately served from all of those aspects.
7779 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Would your opinion be the same in terms of the Commission licensing a service or services such as the MBC or AVR or Touch or the other kinds of services that are before us?
7780 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well ‑‑
7781 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Difficult perhaps.
7782 MR. HILDEBRAND: You know, I think it's difficult ‑‑ from what I was hearing on the Touch application, for example, and I appreciate the kind of music that they would be providing to a minority audience, but I found it interesting that when you're asking them about news, they were proposing to maybe hire news people once they had some more money.
7783 My premise is that in radio you have to have the news people before you get the audience. So if you're not hiring news people right on the hop, I mean, you will never get the audience. So news and information is an important part of the radio cycle, and from my perspective in the business, we spend a lot of money on those things up front with the knowledge that if we do it really well, we won't get the audience down the road. And so we're investing money now to get some money back later. And I found it odd that applicants would be saying, well, we'll add some news people later when we, you know, get our feet on the ground, and I think that's sort of not quite the way the radio works.
7784 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you very much.
7785 Those are my questions, Madam Chair.
7786 MR. RAWLINSON: Excuse me, can I just jump in? I know you were asking Mr. Hildebrand, but I just want to clarify our company's position. We have no objection to licensing AVR or Missinipi in Regina, even though you're not talking about Regina, they're already here in Saskatoon and we're okay with Touch Broadcasting too, we don't object to those. Our intervention is not against those applicants.
7787 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam chair. Thank you, Mr. Rawlinson.
7788 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7789 Vice‑chair Arpin.
7790 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Thank you, Madam Chair.
7791 Mr. Goldstein, you have been doing marketing ‑‑ not marketing, but market studies for other applicants over the years, and obviously one of the formula that has been looked at is one based on the retail sales. Numerous applicants that we have heard yesterday were using a retail sales base formula to arrive at a given figure of market capacity.
7792 Based on your own experience, what is the market capacity ‑‑ advertising capacity of Saskatoon? We have heard a lot of numbers yesterday, starting from 16 million up to 23 million available dollars for radio.
7793 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I need some guidance from the Commission on this because I know the real number.
7794 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: But you know also the retail sales for Saskatoon and you know the formula.
7795 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Well, I wouldn't reduce it exactly to a formula. There will be, obviously over time, linkages between retail sales and the advertising revenues, but they will change. Mr. Hildebrand pointed out quite correctly why they might change as a big box store might take the place of a smaller merchant who would have bought locally, and now the big box store either doesn't use radio or uses it in a different way, and then you're into the whole national business.
7796 I get nervous about saying there's an automatic percentage of this or there's an automatic percentage of that, but the figure that I have for advertising revenue in Saskatoon is the same figure you have, and it would be up to the people sitting to my left whether they want that on the public record or not.
7797 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: I'm not looking to have actual numbers, because as you said I have numbers and we also learned yesterday that CJVR is also selling in Saskatoon and they have provided us with their sales that comes out of Saskatoon, which increases a bit the availability of money for radio in that market. What I'm trying to see, and based on your own expertise, is that we have been presented with a fork, as I said, that goes from 16 million dollars towards 23 million dollars, and they all came and said that they were using a formula. Now, since you ‑‑ it's your feel of expertise to do market study, so that's why I'm asking you, based on your own expertise, have you done the math to see where normally Saskatoon shall be ‑‑ advertising capacity shall be?
7798 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Well, I think you're correct, there were estimates ranging from 16 to 23 million, and none of the estimates were correct, which says something about formulas. I think that you have to try to find the real numbers if you can, and some were too low, some were too high from that estimating routine that they did. When you talk about the capacity in the market, I think in some cases I heard people saying, here is a number and that's the capacity and there is some money left over. The fact is is that the sales in the market are the sales in the market. And so if you have a sales figure, I'm not sure how you can say there is money left over from the sales figure. I didn't understand that logic by some of the applicants who were saying we think that the stations are getting this much and we'll take this much of that and then simultaneously say, but we won't take it from them.
7799 Well, I'm not sure how they can take what's actually in the market without it coming from the people who are in the market, so it's not as if there is a capacity in the market of X and the current stations are only getting 82 percent of X, and somehow there is something left over. The market is what the market is.
7800 MR. HILDEBRAND: Could I jump in also with a comment?
7801 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Sure.
7802 MR. HILDEBRAND: You know, too often we hear that there are formulas for this, and it has been my experience over the years that there are no formulas. Radio is built by one listener at a time, and the advertising business is developed one advertiser at a time. This is a huge painstakingly slow job, and, for example, we have heard that the retail sales growth in Saskatoon has been growing to whatever numbers you have heard this last week, yet the correlation is that national revenue in Saskatoon has gone down.
7803 Obviously just saying that these things work on formulas isn't a fact, and so I have often heard applicants say, you know, there is so much retail sales and automatically there is so much advertising revenue. In my experience, advertising revenue is never automatic.
7804 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: We've also heard yesterday some applicants saying that, well, that they have visited retailers in the market, some will say, that are probably currently advertisers, and will be delighted to pay this and go with a third ‑‑ a third party, but some others, and that's what we heard, claim that they were not using radio at all, but will use the radio because the format they were proposing was more catering towards their clientele ‑‑ leading ‑‑ what it's telling us, even if you have ‑‑ come up, both of you, with support letters from your client that they are still ‑‑ there is still a certain number of retailer that either have money not spent or ‑‑ or have not yet been sought by ‑‑ by your reps.
7805 MR. HILDEBRAND: I think that will always be the case. You can always find somebody that, you know, says, well, sure, I can do this or I can do that. To some extent that may be a little like consultants. You can hire consultants and they will tell you exactly what you want to hear, and then you can hire them again and they will tell you something else. I mean, they don't mind because they're just happy to get the fee.
7806 You know, so at the end of the day in our business, you know, it's just like when people come with an application saying from a business, you know, I will buy advertising on this station if they go on the air. Well, I've seen many of those over the years, and when the station is on the air these folks aren't buying advertising because the advertising has to do something for the client. The client has to be convinced that this is a good deal and that he will get some results, otherwise they're not buying.
7807 MR. RAWLINSON: Madam Chair, can I just comment?
7808 I heard a number of applicants say they'd talked to people and then they're telling you the stories of what they'd heard, but there was actually very few letters written by clients saying, yes, they would like to buy additional advertising, whereas between the letters filed by our company and by Mr. Hildebrand's company there was over a couple hundred of letters talking about ‑‑ of clients talking about that they're happy, they don't want more radio stations, it makes it more difficult to buy, their advertising might become less effective, et cetera, et cetera.
7809 If you want to look at the hard evidence, the stuff that has been provided to you in writing, there is some conflicting evidence, but the ‑‑ I would say that the evidence supporting what we're saying is overwhelming compared to what's been filed with you on the other position as far as, you know, people actually ‑‑ where you have got ‑‑ you have heard directly from them as opposed to somebody saying, I talked to somebody.
7810 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Thank you very much for your concern.
7811 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7812 Commissioner Cugina.
7813 COMMISSIONER CUGINA: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
7814 Ms Leyland, I have a question for you. Earlier this week when I asked you what were some of the factors you looked at when deciding to enter a new market? One of the things you said, in fact, the first thing you said was musical diversity. Again, earlier this week CJVR said that 22 percent of the Saskatoon population tunes in to out‑of‑market stations.
7815 My question is, how much weight should we give to the fact that more than one in five people in Saskatoon can't find, seeming, what they are looking for from Saskatoon Radio stations?
7816 MS LEYLAND: First of all, that was the first time that I'd heard that piece of information, and I found it hard to believe, frankly, just from my experience working in Saskatoon.
7817 MR. RAWLINSON: Can I jump in, because ‑‑ can I give you the actual statistics? I don't know where they got that figure, but 94.4 percent of the tuning in Saskatoon is to local radio stations, and that's just counting the six private stations and CBC and the community station. It's probably higher than that if you add up, you know, the ‑‑ there is a couple of other stations that could be considered in there, but that's what it is.
7818 If they say there is 20 some percent, maybe they're talking about weekly reach that occasionally somebody tunes in to an out‑of‑market radio station, but the fact is the share of hours tuned is approximately 95 percent to local stations. So they were giving you incorrect information.
7819 COMMISSIONER CUGINA: Just so we have an apples to apples comparison, then, Mr. Rawlinson, what is the source of your information?
7820 MR. RAWLINSON: This is BBM, the spring ‑‑ Spring 2006 BBM.
7821 COMMISSIONER CUGINA: Okay. Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam Chair.
7822 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Excuse me, if I might add something, I think I can clarify what was done there, I read their research. They asked people to say what stations do you ever listen to, just for a minute or two minutes or whatever, and they got a figure of 20.6 percent in Regina and 21.6 percent in Saskatoon for people who might have tried a station on the Internet or tried a station somewhere, but that was out of a total of over 200 percent because people could answer more than one and they did not ask the people how long they spent with those stations, you know. We have all had the experience of occasionally flicking around and saying, oh, what can I get here, what can I get there? That doesn't mean you actually spent a lot of time with it, so they've essentially confused, I guess you might say, a reach figure and a tuning figure, and that isn't representative of tuning at all.
7823 COMMISSIONER CUGINA: Thank you.
7824 I'm sure our able staff will be able to ‑‑ now that we have, like I say, an apples to apples comparison.
7825 Thank you.
7826 MR. RAWLINSON: And the figure I quoted was 12 plus. That was all people.
7827 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7828 Commissioner Williams.
7829 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: I think for the benefit of everybody, and I think that will confirm what Mr. Rawlinson just said, the out‑of‑market tuning is seven percent altogether, and I'm using your BBM Fall, 2005.
7830 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7831 Commissioner Williams.
7832 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Madam Chair. Good morning, panelists.
7833 Mr. Rawlinson and Mr. Hildebrand, how do you reconcile your comments of this morning that you think the Saskatoon market could absorb AVR and Touch Canada Broadcasting given that you state all Saskatoon advertisers have been served? Where do you expect Touch Canada Broadcasting will find its estimated 11 million in sales over its licence term, and even in year one, almost 700,000 of local advertising? If everyone has been served, where is this money coming from?
7834 MR. RAWLINSON: Well, I should perhaps answer that because I'm not sure if Mr. Hildebrand said that he was okay with Touch coming in.
7835 They're just so ‑‑ it's a specialty format, number one. They're ‑‑ I believe that their promise is something like 90 percent to be religious programming, if I'm not ‑‑ which is category 3.
7836 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Gospel music.
7837 MR. RAWLINSON: Yes. And that's just ‑‑ quite frankly we just ‑‑ we think of them in the commercial world as something that is very different.
7838 And so other than that, I don't know how to reconcile it, there just doesn't seem to be ‑‑
7839 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: There is only a certain amount of money in the marketplace.
7840 MR. HILDEBRAND: I think ‑‑ I think also a good percentage of their revenue was projected to be brokered programming, which would be coming from out of the market.
7841 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay.
7842 Another question, and this one for sure will be for both Mr. Rawlinson and Mr. Hildebrand. Please clarify if we should consider your Saskatoon broadcasting application seriously given your evidence this morning on the state of the Saskatoon Radio marketplace. I heard you say various ones that you could support, perhaps AVR perhaps coming, perhaps Touch Broadcasting, and you talked a bit about the Regina market. But I'm going to stay in the Saskatoon market, but I didn't hear mention of the Saskatoon broadcasting application, which is the reason for my question.
7843 MR. RAWLINSON: I'll jump in and start. As we said yesterday, our first preference is no commercial licence, but we came up with the idea for Saskatoon Radio broadcasting and have presented it to you because we feel if the Commission feels there is a need for a radio station that that's clearly the radio station that we think the community needs.
7844 And while that would impact on us from the amount of money that we would have to contribute and the amount of time we would have to contribute and the impact on the advertising revenues, we look at it as an ‑‑ or I look at it as a ‑‑ just the right thing to do for the community.
7845 It would have a financial impact, but I guess I wouldn't mind that as much as I would anybody else because in this ‑‑ in Saskatoon Radio broadcasting I think there would be a lot of good done for the community, so I wouldn't mind the financial hit there as much as I would just if some other commercial operator comes in, then there is just ‑‑ to me there's more lost than there is gained.
7846 MR. HILDEBRAND: I think my comments are along the lines of what I made yesterday and early this morning. I view all of the stuff that I do in this industry on a long‑term basis, and I think that given the increase in the Aboriginal community in Saskatoon, in the long term this would be a good thing for the community. And as such, we can support it. So I don't know if there is anything else that I can add.
7847 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: I just needed little clarification based upon this morning's presentation. That's my question, Madam Chair.
7848 Thank you.
7849 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7850 I have a few questions. Mr. Hildebrand, you were saying that national revenue has gone down. Our highly confidential statistics show otherwise up to 2005. Are you saying that in '06 they have gone down?
7851 MR. HILDEBRAND: That's right. There was a market decrease in 2006, which was outlined by Patrick Gurison(ph) as well. And so the ‑‑
7852 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you give us a percentage reduction?
7853 MR. HILDEBRAND: The percentage is in the range of 15 percent.
7854 MR. RAWLINSON: And we experienced the same percentage decline this year that just finished, yes.
7855 THE CHAIRPERSON: '06, August '06. Okay.
7856 MR. HILDEBRAND: And I might add that already we're in the new year going forward and we see this erosion continuing, and to some extent it is a little alarming.
7857 MR. RAWLINSON: For the first two months of this year, September and October, again, that's the same thing we're having a 15 percent decline in our national advertising.
7858 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it's 15 percent of the already 15 percent reduced amount?
7859 MR. RAWLINSON: Well, no it's comparing September, October of '05 with September, October '06. That's down 15 percent, so the trend that happened last year is continuing.
7860 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is continuing.
7861 MR. RAWLINSON: Actually if my memory serves me right, the decline in national advertising started happening during the year and it just kind of fell off the map. It was weird, but it wasn't ‑‑ it was not a particularly bad fall a year ago, it was kind of ‑‑ it wasn't growing, but it was kind of in that range and then all of a sudden, boom, it just fell apart.
7862 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yeah, it just flies in the face of overall national advertising in Canada seems to be going the other direction. So these are some of the anomalies as it relates to Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan, many times, you know, isn't on anybody's radar screen in Toronto, and we have to work really hard to get agencies to even realize that there is a Saskatchewan. And so once we've got them to realize that, then we have to try and actually get some of the budget.
7863 So many times Saskatchewan nationally will only get attention if there is something really bad happening in Saskatchewan. Gainer is getting more promotion across Canada than any of the good stories that have happened in Saskatchewan in the last year.
7864 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Government advertising, Crown Corporation advertising, how much of ‑‑ maybe if you could file it confidentially, how much of that comprises as the total percentage of your total advertising?
7865 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yeah, we'd be happy to do that.
7866 MR. RAWLINSON: Yes, okay. I can tell you ‑‑ actually last year was a reasonably good year for Government advertising, Provincial Government advertising, but for some reason again this fall it has fallen off. And yet, as we seem to be getting closer and closer to an election you would think ‑‑ you know, it normally picks up and it had picked up, and we thought, oh, boy, you know, the '07 year should be a great year for Government advertising and it's been quite poor this fall. So I don't know, it's hard to predict, but ‑‑ so you want percentage of the ‑‑
7867 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of your gross revenues.
7868 MR. RAWLINSON: Of our gross revenues comes from Government advertising?
7869 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, and Crown Corps.
7870 MR. RAWLINSON: And Crown Corps.
7871 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Have you considered that being local advertising or national advertising?
7872 MR. RAWLINSON: We consider that to be local. At least that's how we treat it. I don't know how ‑‑
7873 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yes, we do. We treat it as local as well, yes.
7874 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: So you treat it as local?
7875 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yes, we do.
7876 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I wanted to go, Mr. Goldstein, predictions are wonderful, but when we were talking last time we were talking about the difference in population in Regina since the last licensing. And in Saskatoon the last licensing was 2000. Did you ever check into what the population was then? He has to change glasses to find that out.
7877 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I didn't check it, but I think the difference would be probably about 4,000.
7878 THE CHAIRPERSON: In population?
7879 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Yes.
7880 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you think if I could get you to do a little homework and provide us with the population since I think the licensing ‑‑ the hearing was in '99, so since 2000. The increase in population, the increase in GDP, the increase in retail sales since that time, just so we can have ‑‑ like, it's just history is ‑‑ I always consider it a better predicator than gazing into a crystal ball.
7881 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Sure.
7882 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you can do that? Thank you.
7883 Now, I'm intrigued by ‑‑ and I don't know if you've seen it, Mr. Goldstein, the Newcap document called some market comparisons. And I must say it looks to me like the stars are coalescing. In general it looks like somewhere between well, I'm going to say around 20,000 is the number of persons per station in the six other markets. The average household income looks ‑‑ well, it's an average of 57,000. And the retail sales per station is 278. And based on all of that, Regina and Saskatoon are, I know we're special, but, I mean, it doesn't seem to me to make logical sense.
7884 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Well, we discussed a little bit the other day this business about the average number of people per station. And in our report I dismissed that as a simplistic exercise because, of course, if you take different markets you can prove something else. But, in fact, I think the most important thing to say about that, and I can, by the way, give you a very long and involved statistical exercise, but I'm not going to.
7885 THE CHAIRPERSON: Please, please, keep it in normal language for us laymen.
7886 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Yes. It's not going to be a statistical argument, it's going to be a bit of a philosophical argument. Madam Chair, you yourself, over the last couple of days, have been questioning applicants on the degree to which they understood the difference between Regina and Saskatoon. And I ‑‑ and there were a variety of responses. Some were, in fact, saying, oh, they're very much the same and we can do the same thing in one, we can do the same thing in the other. And I think you challenged that, and I agree with you, I think they are different. But if there are differences between Regina and Saskatoon and unique characteristics about Regina and unique characteristics about Saskatoon, how can you then use Moncton or St. John as a proxy? How can you use Muncton and St. John, New Brunswick as a proxy for Regina and Saskatoon? It just doesn't make any sense.
7887 The markets are what they are. We should be looking at the fact that the markets have achieved not at high profit levels, but a certain equilibrium here, and other markets are there, and we should be looking at what one might to that equilibrium if one licensed a new station.
7888 So if the average number of people per station in another market is a certain number, does that mean we're importing the model from that market into Regina and Saskatoon? Does that mean we're going to put the number of employees per station, which is lower? Does that mean we're going to bring in the spending on programming, which is lower? Does that mean we're going to bring in the revenues which might also be lower?
7889 So, I mean, I found it interesting to hear some applicants say that the per capita levels per station or the per capita levels of radio advertising in Saskatchewan were higher given the number of stations, therefore let's now go bring in the number of stations from another market where the per capita levels are lower. I mean, you can't just cherry pick these statistics and say, well, we can mimic Muncton for numbers of stations and population, but somehow that will have no effect on the program spending, that will have no effect on the revenues, I would rather deal with Regina and Saskatoon.
7890 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Goldstein, though, the differences between the markets that I was referring to was social differences, and surely radio can be responsive to that and, in fact, I think, you know, radio has huge power to change feelings and thoughts about social issues. That doesn't impact ‑‑ it appears to me that we should be looking, if we're going to use something like this, we should be looking at a place that has a similar economic ‑‑ well, similar in economics, and if I do that, one would use, I guess, the conference for diversity factors also in that. And Saskatoon has, what is it, 93 diversity? Probably the second highest in Canada. Is it the second highest?
7891 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I'm not sure.
7892 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think Winnipeg is 95, so it's right up there. If we tried to do a matrix including diversity factors and the, what am I going to say, economic output, the GDP, and put some of these other issues in, would that give us another way of comparing a proxy?
7893 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Well, I think the two most important things to use are going to be population and retail sales. I mean, if you're looking for the two most important indicators, the number of indicators are, of course, sub‑indexes of other indicators. GDP is connected to personal income, is connected to retail sales, I mean, you have to have the GDP to have the income. You have to have the income to have the sales. At some point you max out your credit card, so you do have to have the income to have the sales.
7894 So I think I would start with population and retail sales. I think that I would avoid the headline of the day approach. You know, 50 new housing starts today, let's licence a new radio station. 450 jobs lost, let's take one away. I mean, you know, you can't quite do that, and I think, though, that within the use of indicators of this nature, we should be looking at three important things. And I made some notes for myself and I think maybe it's important to put this on the record, about how one should use these indicators.
7895 First of all, the data has to come from a reliable source, and that means we should be using Statistics Canada wherever possible for historical data. And if we can't find Statistics Canada data because we're looking at projections or we're looking at markets where Stats Canada doesn't produce data on a regular basis, we should be using sources that do regular updates. We should be using sources that revise past data. One of the places some of the people in this process got into a little trouble is they used the source that doesn't revise past data.
7896 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that FP?
7897 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Yes. So they come out once a year with a long lead time, and so if they're two percent low in one year and don't revise it, and two percent high in the next year, all of a sudden you're looking like a big increase, which really isn't there.
7898 So first, reliable data. Secondly, consider the data over a long period of time. Go back at least ten years and go forward at least five years. And projections aren't perfect, but they do at least reflect the consensus of demographics and economics. And don't be driven by short‑term blips. And the third point is, don't just consider absolute growth rates. Look at relative growth rates.
7899 Yes, Regina is growing a little, and yes, Saskatoon is growing slightly more than Regina, but both are still growing a lot more slowly than a lot of other places and that is one of the roots of the things we have just been discussing about national advertising and the shift. And indeed, as you get the big box stores, perhaps elbowing out some local merchants, that might get exacerbated. So those would be the indicators with those three caveats attached.
7900 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what if I put into the matrix of, you know, another indicators where the incumbents were privately held or publicly held. Would that be relevant?
7901 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think it might be. I think the privately held incumbent might be less driven by the next quarterly results, and might have a longer view. And you have two very good privately held companies sitting right here who could probably answer that as well, but I think that would be a consideration, yes.
7902 MR. RAWLINSON: Madam Chair, I'd like to throw one other thing into your matrix, and that is the quality of the radio stations that are in the market, and what are they doing? I would wonder whether some of these markets they're using have a News Talk station?
7903 And the, you know, we filed many letters, we've got, you know, a lot of evidence on the file about the tremendous benefits that having News Talk stations brings to a community. It's not just the extra news, it's the, you know, when, you know, the RCMP officer was killed, the ‑‑ carrying the funeral live to the province, I mean, there was just a bunch of things. And there was an election the other night and I think we had 16 people covering the civic election in Saskatoon, as an example. I mean, you just don't get that.
7904 And the other thing is, is the full service AM stations that are CKRM or CJWW. Those stations also have big news departments and also carry a lot of local information. It isn't just the News Talk stations. And, you know, they haven't been ‑‑ become a shadow of their former selves the way many AM stations have. Those are still vibrant full service radio stations, and that costs money. And so I just think those are, you know, the ‑‑ so I think all of those things should be taken into your matrix too.
7905 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Hildebrand, you were talking about, we get a new entrant and the rates will go down, we have to promote more, our staff would be poached. That would happen except for maybe the last ‑‑ well, no, that may not be true, if Saskatoon broadcasting were licensed also.
7906 MR. HILDEBRAND: Not in the same way because we would actually be mentoring and training the employees for the new operators. It would be quite different than if, you know, a public company comes into the market and decides to just ‑‑ you buy the talent no matter what, and so I think it is a big difference from that.
7907 THE CHAIRPERSON: You don't think the trust wouldn't try to poach Mr. Brass?
7908 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, maybe Mr. Brass would ‑‑
7909 THE CHAIRPERSON: I mean, you've got good some trustees there, and I can't see them, you know, well, I mean ‑‑
7910 MR. HILDEBRAND: But in real terms, we will be developing more Aboriginal employees there and it will be a totally different picture than, as I say, if a public company comes into the market and decides to sort of just, you know, swoop through and see whatever they can pick off.
7911 THE CHAIRPERSON: But, like, once they're up and running, you and I would expect them to compete as best they could.
7912 MR. HILDEBRAND: Truly.
7913 THE CHAIRPERSON: And my thoughts would be, they would be out there with the advertisers and they might be cutting rates for a while.
7914 MR. HILDEBRAND: And in all likelihood then we all have to do that to match it.
7915 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, and then would you have to promote too because they would be there?
7916 MR. HILDEBRAND: And so then you're sort of on a downhill spiral that at the end of the day doesn't provide good radio. I mean, we just have to go back six or seven years to what we had in Saskatoon. I mean, we didn't have six good radio stations. We had two or three good ones and some real dogs, and so the whole process, you know, has been fixed up and I keep coming back to the fact that Saskatoon may have the best radio service of communities anywhere in the Prairies because it has six distinct formats, it has a full service radio, it has community involvement, you know, second to none and we have a commitment to do that for our audience. And my personal commitment is that's what I do in broadcasting, I do it for the long run, not for the short run.
7917 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the trustees of Saskatoon Radio who presented it were proposing a format that appeals to youth. Is that the format that would hurt your companies the least?
7918 MR. HILDEBRAND: Probably would hurt our company the least, yes.
7919 MR. RAWLINSON: And I think as I said yesterday, it will hurt us more than it will hurt Mr. Hildebrand's operation. But if I could just reiterate what I said just a few minutes ago, it seems to me that that's ‑‑ if that operation gets a licence and we do take a hit, that's a hit that, quite frankly, from a financial point of view we can afford and I wouldn't feel ‑‑ I mean, at least it's going ‑‑ it would be for a tremendous benefit to the community. I don't see their ‑‑ it could be argued is the benefit to the community greater than the impact it will have on us as an operator, and that could be debated which way it goes.
7920 THE CHAIRPERSON: So Mr. Rawlinson, though, does this format impact you the least compared to all the other formats proposed?
7921 MR. RAWLINSON: Yes.
7922 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you, gentlemen.
7923 Madam Secretary.
7924 THE SECRETARY: We would now call on the next appearing intervener for the record. I would like to indicate the following interveners will not be appearing. Those are CIRPA, Paul Martin Communications, Neil Meckelborg, and Jason Moffat.
7925 Therefore, I would call on the next appearing intervener, The Secret Santa Foundation to come forward for their presentation.
7926 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, this is the Santa Foundation?
7927 THE SECRETARY: Yes.
7928 THE SECRETARY: Before you proceed with your presentation, if you could identify yourself. You could turn on the microphone, introduce yourself, and then you will have ten minutes for your presentation.
7929 Please go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
7930 MS WEYMAN: Good morning, Madam Chair and Commissioners.
7931 Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about the CJWW, Denny Carr, Secret Santa Foundation and what it means to needy families in Saskatoon at Christmas.
7932 My name is Mercedes Weyman and I am the Executive Director of the Secret Santa Foundation. Seated beside me on the left is Jim McRory, one of our volunteer board members, and to my right is the Chairman of the Secret Santa Board and General Manager of CJWW radio, Vic Dubois.
7933 Please bear with me as I tell you about the history of Secret Santa. Secret Santa was initially formed 20 years ago in the mid 1980s. Long time CFQC 600 AM radio morning man, Denny Carr, approached the Salvation Army staff in Saskatoon to ask how the radio station could assist the needy during the Christmas season. Their request was for toys and Secret Santa was born with a mandate to see to it that no child in Saskatoon would go without a new unwrapped toy on Christmas day. Denny Carr continued to be the driving force behind Secret Santa each year directing a team of volunteer elves led by myself. As to how I first became involved, my late husband was another long time radio news man with CFQC.
7934 MR. McRORY: In 1994 the radio station was purchased by the company that owned CJWW radio in Saskatoon. CFQC then became an FM station and Denny Carr continued his career as a co‑host on the morning show on CJWW, which now occupied the 600 dial position. CJWW General Manager, Vic Dubois, wholeheartedly took on the task of supporting Denny's Secret Santa with whatever air time, money, and staff resources that were required. Of course it goes without saying that CJWW already had an excellent track record of involvement with many charitable organizations and events before Secret Santa came along.
7935 MS WEYMAN: In 1998, Denny Carr was diagnosed with cancer and sadly passed away in 1999 after being a fixture on the morning airwaves in Saskatoon for more than 30 years. As a side note, my husband, Easton Weyman, had also contracted cancer and passed away two years earlier in 1997. Both his and Denny's pictures, with the caption, "In memory of our friends," are on the wall to this day in CJWW's reception area. This is a radio company that cares.
7936 The challenge in 1999 was what was going to happen to Secret Santa now that its founder and guiding leader was gone. I was asked to attend a meeting with Vic Dubois, along with both CJWW's promotions and community relations directors. The purpose of the meeting; to discuss the future of Secret Santa. Would we carry on somehow without Denny at the helm or simply dissolve the organization. And to compound events, the Salvation Army in Toronto decided to not continue releasing income tax receipts, which made things more difficult for donors.
7937 MR. McRORY: The decision came easily that Secret Santa was far too important to just let it fade away into oblivion. CJWW would take on the task of seeing to it that Denny Carr's legacy lived on and with the help of CJWW's outside legal and accounting firms, the result was the formation of the CJWW Denny Carr Secret Santa Foundation, a Federally registered charity with the ability to issue tax receipts.
7938 There is a six person volunteer Board of Directors from the community chaired by CJWW General Manager, Vic Dubois, and our Executive Director, Mercedes, along with a number of volunteers who come on board in November and December each year as this wraps up at the end of the year, and that number is somewhere between 75 and 100 people from the community, including huge support by our firefighters in Saskatoon.
7939 I'm very pleased to say that ongoing fundraising efforts after 1999 became so successful, thanks to wonderful community support from Saskatoon businesses and organizations, that last year, in 2005, the foundation made a decision to expand its mandate. Now, we had noticed that the Salvation Army had reduced staff and operations in the City of Saskatoon.
7940 Accordingly, after consulting with the Salvation Army, the Secret Santa Foundation stepped up to the plate and took on the task of providing not just toys, but Christmas food hampers as well. And we searched until we found a building that we could use as a storage and a pick‑up depot, and the week before Christmas, CJWW staff and their families, along with other outside volunteers, put together hampers full of food and toys; then on December 22nd, handed them out to a total of 600 needy Saskatoon families, the majority of which, as it turned out, had four or more children by the way.
7941 So that number was anywhere from between 15 and 100 and 2,500 people total that were looked after at Christmas time.
7942 We had our most recent Board meeting a short time ago in October and I'm happy to report that the 2006 Secret Santa campaign is set to get under way.
7943 We expect to once again provide ‑‑ officially start that campaign with a symbolic placing of a present under the big Christmas tree in the lobby of our City Hall in Saskatoon. The Mayor is always a part of that. The firefighters come out and sing carols for us, and there is always a good turnout of the media; and from print, to radio and television, always support us very, very nicely. CJWW management and staff are ready to go and are as passionate as ever about this very worthwhile cause.
7944 MS WEYMAN: There are two reasons that I felt it was important for you to hear this story.
7945 The first reason is to show how this radio station, CJWW, goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to being caring and compassionate about the community. This station, along with the other two in the same company, CFQC FM and CJMK FM, are deeply committed to helping nonprofit groups and organizations in Saskatoon achieve their goals of providing a better quality of life for those who require their help.
7946 The station employs a Community Relation's Director whose mandate goes far beyond simply allocating public service announcements on the air.
7947 The CJWW Denny Carr Secret Santa Foundation is just an excellent example of how far these broadcasters are prepared to go to give something back to the community in order to assist those in need.
7948 The second reason that I am here is because I have a fear that should new FM radio licences be granted to Saskatoon, CJWW AM could find itself in a position whereby it cannot continue to spend enough time and money, as well as allocating of staff to ensure that the Secret Santa Foundation fulfils the mandate it has been given by the Board. That would mean a sad Christmas day for many needy families in Saskatoon. I believe that it is vitally important to our community that Secret Santa lives on and is able to do its wonderful charitable work in the future.
7949 I am therefore asking the Commission to please take this consideration when deliberating on the number of radio licences that should be operating in Saskatoon.
7950 Thank you very much for allowing us to make this presentation today and we would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
7951 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Pennefather.
7952 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
7953 Thank you for being with us this morning and for presenting the story behind the foundation and I really have no questions; just to congratulate you on your important work for the community and reminding us that Christmas is around the corner.
7954 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mrs. Weyman and gentlemen.
7955 Madam Secretary.
7956 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
7957 I will now call on the next appearing intervener, Lisa Rendall, to come forward for her presentation.
7958 Ms Rendall, you can go ahead. You would have ten minutes for your presentation.
7959 Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
7960 MS RENDALL: Thank you, Madam Chair, members of the Commission, and Commission staff.
7961 My name is Lisa Rendall. Joining me is Glenda Little, the communications consultant for the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency.
7962 I would first like to tell you just a bit about me. I was diagnosed with stage 4, incurable metastatic breast cancer in July of 2000. At the time, I was a morning show co‑host on C95 and I have been on long‑term disability for the last six years. I had pain throughout my body and doctors could not figure out what was going on, until I had severe neck pain, and x‑rays showed that a vertebrae in my neck had totally collapsed.
7963 Cancer had eaten away at the bone and destroyed it, collapsing my neck and causing me unbearable pain. I went to the hospital with a sore neck and found out that I had breast cancer that had spread to the rest of my body; areas including of course my neck, my first right rib is totally broken apart by a tumour. There are numerous cancerous legions in my chest wall, many of my ribs and throughout my spine from the neck right down to the sacral area. I have a partially collapsed vertebra in my back and the cancer is also in my liver, but do I look like I have cancer? No.
7964 I was put in a halo for three months. I had a bone graft put into my neck from my hip, along with a titanium plate put into my neck. I also had the lump in my breast removed, a lump that was only detectable by a CT scan. I had chemotherapy once a week for six months, which was able to shrink the tumours, and my cancer has remained the same for six years. It's still there, it just hasn't grown or shrunk. So I have what they call stable disease.
7965 I still have three different treatments a month. I take two different kinds of Morphine to help me cope with the pain of the cancer in my bones, but I'm not here to talk about me. I'm here to talk about the outstanding support of C95 in Saskatoon.
7966 Since my diagnosis I have been overwhelmed with the support of all of the Saskatoon radio stations, but particularly with C95. They have been having radio marathon fundraisers for paediatric causes until my diagnosis and it was then that C95 changed the radio marathon to be a fundraiser for breast cancer research.
7967 I have to tell you, I'm a control freak and mixing a control freak with cancer is not an easy thing to do, to say the least, because there was nothing I could do to control my situation. There is nothing I could do to change it, but I could try and raise enough money to find new treatments and ultimately a cure.
7968 The staff at C95 threw themselves into the radio marathon. It was personal for the staff because of what had happened to me. I was actually not expected to live for very long. And someone close to them had been diagnosed with cancer.
7969 We not only have the C95 radio marathon for breast cancer at the end of October, which of course is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but there are many events that C95 publicizes throughout the year. If an event comes up, they're always trying to think of a way that we can turn it into a fundraiser for breast cancer research.
7970 When the Exhibition is in town, for the entire week the announcers and other staff are there raising money for breast cancer with contests. They're selling some kind of C95 breast cancer fundraising item. For a local City Hall chili cook‑off, the money raised goes to the C95 radio marathon.
7971 I'm involved with a dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors. We have fundraising pasta nights, barbecues, and much more throughout the year and C95 is always extremely supportive in letting the community know about these little events as well. In the summer I hold my own golf tournament, even though I don't golf. It's called the Lisa Rendall Golf Classic. It raises money for the C95 radio marathon for breast cancer research, another way that I can try and make a difference in what's happened to me.
7972 C95 puts the entry form and poster on their website. They run promos to let everyone know of the event. And the morning show even comes out to broadcast live the day of the tournament. The support of the golf tournament goes basically from May through to the end of August with promos and the announcers talking about it, along with information on the C95 website.
7973 I personally hold many fundraising and awareness events about breast cancer throughout the year, and I'm always overwhelmed with the support I receive from the current local radio stations, C95 in particular. I have been contacted numerous times to do interviews about my golf tournament, fundraising steak nights, our Busting With Energy Dragon Boat Team, even speaking engagements that I do to talk about my breast cancer experience and my ongoing battle with the disease. I have been featured in many newspapers, magazines and TV interviews, and C95 is even notifying the public about these kinds of things. Look for Lisa in the paper today, Lisa is here.
7974 The single biggest event, though, that shows the commitment of our location radio stations is the C95 radio marathon for breast cancer research. We just had our 7th annual radio marathon last week ‑‑ I'm sorry, it was just last Thursday and Friday. We raised a record‑breaking $305,000. There are no big corporate donations. This is all money raised by local people who are moved to donate because of what they hear on C95.
7975 In the seven years that C95 has turned over the airwaves for an entire two days, we have now made over one million dollars for the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency for research. It's an incredible two days where the radio station focuses entirely on breast cancer and raising money to find a cure and new treatments.
7976 C95 started out doing the marathon for 30 hours, then they extended it to 35 hours, now we're at 36 hours. That's 36 hours of live radio devoted to breast cancer awareness and research. They talk to a local breast cancer survivor every hour, talk to family members, friends, and staff at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency.
7977 Before the radio marathon, no one even knew about the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. You see, they can't go out and tell people about themselves like the Canadian Cancer Society can. Glenda could speak more to that issue better than I can.
7978 C95 has not only been able to raise over one million dollars for the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, they have made the province aware of the fact that the agency exists. Glenda Little, communications consultant with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency will now speak about the impact that C95 has had on the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency.
7979 MS LITTLE: Thanks, Lisa.
7980 I'm pleased to be here today to talk about Saskatchewan Cancer Agency's relationship with C95 and Rawlco Radio. As chairperson of the agency, C95 radio marathon committee, I would like to express to you how important our relationship with C95 and Rawlco Radio has become. This relationship is not only important to our cancer research unit, but to our staff and volunteers, as well as to our patients and their family members and the public at large.
7981 The agency operates cancer centers in Regina and Saskatoon, cancer patient lodges, screening programs for breast and cervical cancer, many other programs and services. We also have an active cancer research unit located within the Saskatoon Cancer Centre. Funding for administration of the unit comes from the agency in the form of core support, however, all research carried out within the unit is funded by competitive grants from agencies such as the National Cancer Institute of Canada and others like it.
7982 Over the past seven years, the C95 radio marathon has brought in actually one point one million dollars for breast cancer research. This is an incredible amount and has had an amazing impact on our research program. Specifically we have been able to significantly expand our program in the area of breast cancer. Lisa is correct in saying that up to this point, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency has been a passive fundraiser, meaning that we accept donations, but we haven't been actively involved in fundraising promotion. Consequently it is sometimes difficult getting the word out that we're right here in the province delivering cancer services and conducting world class research, and C95 and the radio marathon seven years ago, and the positive result has been increased awareness. We regret that Lisa Rendall's diagnosis is the reason the C95 radio marathon for breast cancer research was given to us, but we're truly grateful and thankful for our relationship with Lisa, C95, and Rawlco Radio.
7983 C95 and Rawlco Radio are making a big difference in the lives of people affected by breast cancer and, in turn, people with all types of cancer.
7984 Thank you.
7985 MS RENDALL: Thank you, Glenda.
7986 In closing, I would like to personally express that I feel the number of radio stations we have in Saskatoon is more than enough for the size of our community. I worry that should other competing radio stations come into our community that events such at as my golf tournament would not be able to get the community coverage that we currently receive and that getting 36 hours of live radio for a fundraiser may not be possible any more.
7987 The radio stations we have currently serve our community extremely well. C95 is incredibly generous and goes over and above what radio stations normally do. They donate air time and manpower to a massive fundraising and awareness endeavour that I could not possibly do on my own no matter how hard I try.
7988 Thank you so much for your time and we'd be pleased to answer any questions.
7989 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Rendall.
7990 It's amazing, just this morning, the five of us were sitting around the table in our room talking about how cancer has touched us all.
7991 Thank you very much, we have no questions.
7992 MS RENDALL: Thank you.
7993 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary.
7994 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
7995 I would now call on the next two appearing interveners. They are APTN, Mr. Jean LaRose, and Amanda Nepper, if you would come forward for your presentation. We will start with Mr. LaRose from APTN, you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.
7996 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome to God's country, Mr. LaRose.
7997 I said, welcome to God's country.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
7998 MR. LAROSE: Thank you.
7999 There is still no snow here.
8000 Good morning, Madam Chair, monsieur le vice-président, Commissioners and Commission staff.
8001 Mon nom est Jean LaRose. Je suis le directeur général du reseau de télévision des peuples autochtones. Je suis un citoyen Abanaki de la première nation Odanak.
8002 I appear before you today in support of an application by Harvard Broadcasting to provide an FM service to Saskatoon.
8003 The service they propose would be directed to the least well served population in the market, 12 to 34 years old. Harvard has found in their research, both in this and other markets, that it is these younger listeners who are least satisfied by traditional broadcast radio. I commend any broadcaster who is recognizing and addressing this critical problem, one of the reasons being that our population is over 50 percent in that age group.
8004 Because it is not just the immediate or even midterm future of radio that is being jeopardized by ignoring these audiences, it has a larger social implication. As the next generation disconnects from mass media in favour of more highly personalized information and entertainment sources, we lose the opportunity to engage in dialogue; dialogue that is critical to advancing their understanding of the world and dialogue that is needed to expand the horizons of their thought.
8005 The challenges within the Aboriginal communities in this area are not undocumented. At APTN, we take our role as a community leader and a potential mentor for our youth quite seriously. One of the primary driving forces behind the creation of the Aboriginal Media Education Fund, AMEF, was the shocking realization that young Aboriginal persons were either not aware of the opportunities in broadcasting or considered it beyond their reach. In one case, we had developed an Aboriginal‑specific initiative with a CEGEP in Quebec in conjunction with a well‑known producer that offered a number of openings for Aboriginal youth. Even with a substantial information campaign in high schools located within our communities in that region, not one youth applied. This demonstrated to us that we need to work harder and more diligently at reaching our youth and clearly demonstrating to them that this is one field where they do have opportunities and a range of choices.
8006 The AMEF, as you heard earlier this week, has one of its mandates, a plan to address this disenfranchisement. It will begin with education, expand to training both academic and workplace based, develop into mentorship programs, and hopefully will be able to assist with job placements. One of the most important aspects of the AMEF is that the scope of training covers all aspects of media. Our intent is to provide training where needed and in areas that are of the most interest to the recipients of the funding. This is what makes AMEF, in my mind, the most comprehensive and important initiative of its kind in Canada, one that is deserving of support by the entire broadcasting community, be it radio or television. I sincerely believe that the pool of talent that industry will require in the coming years will in great part be composed of Aboriginal Peoples and we must start today to establish and develop that talent pool.
8007 While the AMEF did not consider Canadian Talent Development Funds as part of the original funding base, it is our assessment that given the criteria, it is exactly the type of organization that the CTD initiatives were envisioned to support. We thank Harvard Broadcasting for recognizing this opportunity and drawing our attention to this potential funding.
8008 The heart of our support for the Harvest Broadcasting proposal, however, is premised on the ongoing commitment of Harvard Broadcasting in assisting APTN in developing a pool of trained news reporters. Similar to the commitments of Harvard in Calgary and Fort McMurray, Harvard is prepared to provide at their expense mentorship programs for one candidate each year of a licence. APTN will recruit and select the candidates and Harvard commits to hiring at least one of the persons completing the program. These candidates will receive full training in all aspecting of news production and will be given the opportunity to develop their own on‑air segments.
8009 Candidates for the mentorship program with Harvard will leave after a year with critical firsthand experience of producing and reporting news. They will have a portfolio of material that they have worked on to show prospective employers and through their on‑air segments, they will have production credits. The importance of this type of on‑the‑job training support should not be underestimated.
8010 As the Commission well knows, APTN has just recently been renewed for its second term, and you would know since you renewed it. We are very proud of what we have accomplished thus far and the increased pass through fee will help take us to the next level. But all of these new monies have been earmarked to meet our targets of increased production and will be directed toward what appears on screen. The Commission has given us very specific direction as to how and where to direct that revenue and I intend to ensure that APTN meets the conditions of licence that the CRTC presented with the subscriber increase. As you know, APTN competes for audience with all other broadcasters and it is imperative that we never lose site of the need to create on‑air programming that is entertaining and engaging. This leaves APTN and frankly the system with the same exact under‑ representation skilled Aboriginal media people as five years ago. As well, the Commission is well aware of the costs of producing certain categories and genres of programming. Even with the increase, APTN needs to establish partnerships with other broadcasters to develop the types of programming that will meet audience needs and expectations and successfully demonstrate that Canadian productions can be as good, if not better, than off‑the‑shelf productions made in other countries. APTN is working hard to establish, maintain and expand those partnerships. But these are outside of the scope of AMEF, which is a totally independent entity from APTN. AMEF will develop a talent pool from which not only APTN, but other Aboriginal radio broadcasters like AMMSA, MBC, NCI, Wawatay, and others, will be able to get talent. It is also AMEF's goal to help mainstream broadcasters to have access to this incredible talent pool that will provide them with qualified dynamic and young individuals who will provide them with a whole new generation of skilled workers. After all, isn't it our social responsibility to ensure that we pave the way for our young people to replace us? Many of us in this room are 10, 15 years from moving on into our sunset years. That is a very small window, indeed, to train young people to assume the tasks and responsibilities that we hold and ensure that the industry remains strong and vibrant.
8011 That is why we believe it is important that broadcasters be encouraged to contribute support to the system through initiatives like the AMEF and directly to APTN through programs like the proposed news mentoring program. It is only through a more broadly organized and more widely supported effort that APTN will be able to realize its goal of producing information and entertainment that are "by" and not just "for and about" Aboriginal Peoples. It is only through these larger efforts that the imbalance in the system in terms of the participation of Aboriginal Peoples will be addressed. The entire system will benefit since many of these individuals will one day be filling these types of positions not only in the Aboriginal community, but the entire broadcasting community in Canada. That is the goal of AMEF and I believe the goal of the Commission and the industry and it seeks to work collectively to address the systemic imbalance through the work of the industry in SABAR, for example, and through other initiatives set out by the Commission to address the under‑representation of certain groups including Aboriginal Peoples.
8012 At APTN we are proud to say we are the first national Aboriginal broadcast in the world. Our role and our place in the Canadian broadcast system is something we both value and appreciate. We are encouraged by the fact that broadcasters like Harvard recognize the role they can play in ensuring representation of Aboriginal Peoples "in front and behind the cameras and microphones" and we hope the Commission will reward such valuable contributions by expanding the communities they serve.
8013 In closing I would like to sum up why I think the Harvard Broadcasting proposal should be licensed.
‑ 1) The Zone seeks to provide a service for an underserved population and a group of people increasingly disenfranchised with traditional media.
‑ 2) Harvard proposes a news mentoring program that will provide Saskatoon Aboriginal Peoples an opportunity to train in the market where they live and create skilled people in an area of critical need.
‑ 3) Harvard's mentoring proposal will not only provide training, but it comes with an offer and a guarantee of employment.
‑ 4) Harvard Broadcasting's ongoing support of APTN and the AMEF recognizes the role that broadcasters and the system have to play in developing Aboriginal talent. APTN is certainly making strides, but should not carry the obligation alone.
8014 I thank you very much for your time and attention and would be most happy to answer any questions you may have at this time. Merci.
8015 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. LaRose.
8016 We'll continue with Ms Amanda Nepper and then questions may follow from the panel.
8017 MS NEPPER: Good morning, Madam Chair, and Commissioners and Commission staff. My name is Amanda Nepper. I'm 24 years old and I have been a resident of Saskatoon for seven years now.
8018 I used to listen to the radio all the time. For a while, I have been finding myself relying more on my CDs to hear the music that I want to hear. There is nothing on the radio that I listen to, mainly because it's been the same music and programming over and over and over for years now.
8019 Our city desperately needs some diversity for the listeners. Our current stations play the same music all the time. There are times I tune into the radio and the song on Rock 102 will also be playing on C95 or the song on Magic 98.3 will also be playing on Rock 102. And I have personally experienced the same song playing on three stations at once and it's not much of a selection.
8020 So needless to say I was excited to hear about a possible new radio station in Saskatoon. The ideas presented in the application put forth by Harvard Broadcasting have captured my attention and have my full support. I want a station that's going to play my music, my friends' music and The Zone would definitely be a station that I could call my own.
8021 Currently no station in Saskatoon is speaking to my generation. We spend time downloading music and listening to our MP3 players, iPods, rather than using the radio and it's because there is nothing to listen to. A station that would be playing Alternative and Modern Rock, Urban, Hip Hop and Pop music is exactly the radio station I want and one that I would listen to.
8022 The Zone would not only be playing my generations' music, but the news and information programming would be relevant to those in my age group. This would also be an interactive station, having listener DJ's mix and introduce their own music and listener polls, which I feel are programs that are designed to create a connection between the station and its audience.
8023 Harvard also wants to be helping towards the discovery and development of local talent in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan. Funding is planned for the U of S music department, which in return helps keep music alive and growing in our city. The talent discovery contest is something I think will help artists within the area and will also be a program for listeners. We can hear new music and vote for who we like. It would be like having our own little version of Canadian Idol right there in Saskatoon.
8024 A new sound for Saskatoon is long overdue. I would love having my music collection combined into one radio station rather than having to haul around numerous burnt CDs. The Zone 92.3 is not only what I'm looking for, I know it's what Saskatoon is looking for.
8025 Thank you for having me today and I will answer any questions you have for me.
8026 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8027 Vice‑Chair Arpin.
8028 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Thank you, Madam Chair.
8029 Mr. LaRose, I note in your oral presentation today that you're mentioning that AMEF is there to develop the talent pool for APTN and other radio broadcasters, and you name a few by their acronyms. There is a national radio network whose name doesn't appear on your list. Is it for any given reason or ‑‑
8030 MR. LAROSE: No, actually this list isn't exhaustive. If I had made an exhaustive list, it would included AVR, as well as an NEB Terrace, NBY Yukon, NCS in Yellowknife. I mean, there is a whole range of others. I just selected a few from this region because I suspect that a lot of the training that would happen in this region would be for youth in this area who would work in radio stations in this area that are currently established and the ones that come to mind as established were those mentioned here.
8031 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Now, I don't know if you're aware, yesterday and over the last couple of days, we heard a few applications for new Aboriginal services in the area. ADR surely was here with the two proposals; one for Regina and one for Saskatoon. A group from Saskatoon also under the name of Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting made a proposal regarding the implementation of a radio service for Saskatoon, and which will be staffed exclusively by Aboriginal.
8032 Now, you just referred in your presentation to a situation that you lived in Quebec through CEGEP. Do you think that for the time being there is sufficient staffing for ‑‑ to meet the needs of setting up radio stations that will be staffed exclusively by Aboriginal and starts from the ground, say, in the next year or so?
8033 MR. LAROSE: I don't pretend to know everything about radio, so I will qualify my statements, but it has been my experience with APTN that in many fields we do not have ‑‑ we are hard pressed even as a network to fill all of our positions with Aboriginal people. That's why we created the mentorship program within the network where non‑aboriginal individuals, who have years of experience in mainstream, are hired for some of the key positions, some director positions and others, some engineer positions, and mentor over the course of sunset contracts, which is three to five years, mentor the Aboriginal staff to reach that level.
8034 I would be hesitant to say that a fully staffed Aboriginal radio station would actually find all of its staff to start. I suspect there would be gaps. We certainly have gaps ‑‑ we have gaps right now in filling some of the positions of the bureaus that we have now opened in accordance to our licence. We're having difficulty filling the positions in Iqaluit with qualified Inuit reporters. We're having difficulties in filling ‑‑ even in filling one of the prairie bureaus right now.
8035 So obviously there is a shortage of talent and this is why the approach that we are using with AMEF and Harvard here strikes APTN as the proper approach because it is developing talent in areas that are needed and it is looking at all areas, and some of our production areas, whether it's from a technical perspective, whether it's from an off‑air strictly management and operational perspective. There is not a lot of talent that has had the opportunity in mainstream to possibly be able to fulfil all the duties of a network. That's my experience with APTN.
8036 I know it's the experience of some of the societies who operate Aboriginal radio networks across the country, so I would have to say that, at this point, I am not convinced that a fully staffed station established for the purpose of that, and also under the auspices of a mainstream network, might actually develop the way that it is expected to.
8037 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And personally, you, John LaRose, how did you come to broadcasting to the position that you are now holding at APTN? Where were you trained?
8038 MR. LAROSE: Where did I ‑‑
8039 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Yes.
8040 MR. LAROSE: Actually I came into APTN from our communications PR and media relations field. What gave me the background to fulfil this position was the fact that I had the opportunity over a few years to operate a business on my own, but also from my political perspective to work with some of the Aboriginal organizations and gather a lot of knowledge and experience of what were some of the challenges faced by the communities, and what were some of the challenges faced by some of our organizations.
8041 And this knowledge is what allowed me to be able to step in this position, and while not being fully knowledgeable about the field, have enough experience to know what the pitfalls usually were for organizations such as ours, how to avoid them. And the big knowledge I learned over the ten years in business also gave me a good background on what to look for, how to build a network, how to expand it, and how to ensure that it is on the proper footing.
8042 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Thank you, Mr. LaRose, thank you.
8043 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8044 Ms Nepper, you are a part‑time student?
8045 MS NEPPER: I just wrote my last midterm for this semester. I'm not going back next semester.
8046 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're not going back?
8047 MS NEPPER: Well, I plan to go back, but I just ‑‑ there is a glitch in the plan right now, so ‑‑
8048 THE CHAIRPERSON: What about your friends at University or ‑‑ not necessarily in University, your other friends, what do they listen to?
8049 MS NEPPER: Not the radio, and it's not even that; they listen to ‑‑ they download music because we don't hear it ‑‑ like, I have one girlfriend that, you know, she said, I'll listen to the radio for maybe an hour, I'll hear two songs that I like and maybe ‑‑ and none of them will be songs that they haven't already heard. And I have ‑‑ like, I use my boyfriend's younger siblings, because I don't have any younger siblings. Chantelle is 16 and Chet is 19 and they never listen to the radio. Like, they probably ‑‑ I don't think ‑‑ I don't think Chantelle has listened to the radio at all. Like, Chet stopped listening, but there is nothing there for them.
8050 Like, there is going to be no future in radio. That's what I mean, we're going to lose, like, a whole generation. Music is so important and they're not hearing anything they want to hear. And an '80s request lunch doesn't mean anything to them and that's prime time listening hour, as far as I'm concerned. That's when kids aren't in school, that's when, you know, people are on their lunch breaks, that's when people are driving around. Everyone is listening to the radio and I'm sure the '80s does hit a certain group, but ‑‑ I was even born in 1982, but I don't want to hear that all lunch hour, you know.
8051 THE CHAIRPERSON: You probably don't remember when you were one year old and had favourite tunes at that time?
8052 MS NEPPER: I even made a comment to my mom about ‑‑ because of my hair. I said, I wish I was born in the '80s, but that's ‑‑ I was, but I didn't live the '80s, you know. We lived the '90s and, like, the future now. Like, there is nothing on the radio for us to listen to.
8053 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8054 Mr. LaRose, I hear you about trying to find qualified people. I think it is the experience of broadcasters in Saskatoon that even finding anybody to recruit to train is difficult. And you will be choosing the person who will be going in with Harvard should they be licensed. How do you plan to find somebody and your CEGEP experience is the same thing, isn't it?
8055 MR. LAROSE: Well, it is. And I mean, what we have ‑‑ in fact, one thing that's been very useful to us recently, as you know, we opened the Edmonton bureau, we've opened the Whitehorse and Iqaluit bureaus.
8056 We also had to staff our Saskatoon bureau because we had one of our key reporters, who is also a playwright, make the choice that play writing was more interesting than news reporting and also who plans to pitch show ideas to us, so he left, but in the course of the job search and the interviews we conducted, we identified about eight Aboriginal individuals who have some writing experience, but no radio or television experience. So we right now have possible candidates for up to eight positions that would require training and mentoring.
8057 The same happened in Edmonton. I think we've got five people on that list, five Aboriginal individuals, so I think that the opportunities are there. I think that the people are there.
8058 In Quebec it's a different story. We've started an outreach program in high schools where our regional manager of programming for Quebec and eastern region will be going to some of the community colleges, will be going to high schools and even earlier, you know, mid schools, late grade 7, grade 8, some of the job fairs, and we will be basically bringing sort of a little travelling road show to those schools to show the various opportunities, not only within television, but whether it be a reporter, whether it be a sound person; it could be radio, it could be television, to show the entire broadcasting sector because we're also trying to build an Aboriginal television broadcasting sector.
8059 We're trying to build a production community that will provide us with programming, but also work with the partnerships that we have, say, with Omni and with other broadcasters to develop new programming that's of interest to both our audience and Canadians in general.
8060 As you know, the partnership with Omni right now is allowing us to develop two ‑‑ we're test marketing two talk shows that are oriented to Native spirituality, but spirituality in general as well, so it's of interest to both audiences, but that we'll also look at the broader scope of spirituality within the Aboriginal consciences, which involves healthy living, which involves a whole array of, you know, an entire lifestyle.
8061 And from these two that we are developing this year, and will be airing, we will choose one that under the special benefits and the partnership we have with them, will be pursued for the next three years.
8062 So as we develop these opportunities we are also tightening our rules for non‑ aboriginal producers. We are tightening the rules for the mentoring of the people they hire. We are tightening the guidelines as to what they need to deliver to those individuals because too often we have seen ‑‑ I hate to use the term, but I have to use it, because I can't think of another one, what I call is the store‑front Indian, which is the token Indian in front of a project where the individual in fact has no real responsibility. And we have seen that with the production this year. And that discourages me because it goes totally against what APTN is trying to do.
8063 If someone is hired to be an associate producer, I expect that they will be given the training to that level, not asked to sort of sit and watch, because you don't learn too much in sitting and watching. You learn by doing. You learn by being mentored. So I think we have the people that we can bring into these markets, the prairie markets. This is where we have the highest concentration of Aboriginal people. This is where right now we have the highest potential and we do have people that could go in right now these mentoring positions. We just need to ensure that they're there.
8064 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. LaRose. Thank you, Ms Nepper.
8065 And I have been asked by two individuals if we could take a break. So it's 10:30 my time. We will be back in 15 minutes.
8066 Thank you.
‑‑‑ Recess at 1030 / Suspension à 1030
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1050 / Reprise à 1050
8067 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order please.
8068 Madam Secretary.
8069 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
8070 We will now proceed with the next two appearing interveners. I would ask that the Saskatoon Indian & Metis Friendship Centre as well as Mils Productions, if they would come forward to present their intervention?
8071 THE SECRETARY: I would ask if you could please identify yourself? Are you with the Saskatoon Indian & Metis Friendship Centre?
8072 MS HENDERSON: Yes.
8073 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
8074 Please introduce yourself and you'll have ten minutes for your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8075 MS HENDERSON: Good morning, Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen.
8076 I'm honoured to be here today before you to lend my support for the radio licence application put forward by the Aboriginal Voices Radio network to broadcast in Saskatoon. My name is May Henderson and I represent the Saskatoon Friendship Centre. Saskatoon Friendship Centre was incorporated in 1968 and has served as the central hub of the Saskatoon Aboriginal community for 38 years.
8077 Our Friendship Centre continued to build and develop partnerships that assist Aboriginal people in closing the gap in life's chances between Aboriginal and non‑Aboriginal peoples. We have been committed for many years to developing a strong and productive community.
8078 SIMFC objectives are to provide a reception centre for Aboriginal people coming to the city, to provide an information referral centre for Aboriginal people to ‑‑ residing in the city, to provide a place where cultural activities and identification can be carried on and maintained, to provide a meeting place where the Aboriginal and non‑Aboriginal community can come together to mutually support each other and exchange ideas and values.
8079 Simply put, I believe that having Aboriginal Voices Radio broadcast in Saskatoon will contribute to the achievement of our priorities and our goals. AVR has demonstrated the same values and concerns toward Aboriginal wellbeing as we do. AVR recognizes that our future is in our youth, therefore we must create opportunities for the young ones to hear their language, hear their stories, and hear their own voices.
8080 One of the great gifts that we can give to the future is strong and grounded children with a clear sense of who they are. This sense of identity is the foundation upon which we can rebuild our communities and fully participate in opportunities and employment.
8081 Having AVR provide an outlet of creative expression allows our community to share the beauty and strength of our culture with others. In this way, we hope to affect how other people in our city hear and understand us.
8082 We see AVR as a way to bridge the cultural divides. As well, AVR allows our artists a place their expression of today's Aboriginal reality and culture. It establishes a venue that our people will aspire to to share their art and voice. We are a vibrant and dynamic community.
8083 Furthermore, AVR is committed to supporting the efforts of our communities and organizations by creating the opportunity for us to get the word about ‑‑ out about our events, gatherings and community endeavours. This is a very important contribution. It allows us the chance to support each other and coordinate a common front on our issues and our priorities. I'm nervous.
8084 THE CHAIRPERSON: Don't be.
8085 MS HENDERSON: Once again and in conclusion, I believe that having AVR here in Saskatoon will contribute to the achievements of our collective priorities. Here is an opportunity to fill a void that would mean great things to so many people.
8086 Thank you.
8087 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8088 Do you have an estimate? Like, I know Stats Can has their estimates, but it's always been that Indian and Metis people ‑‑ well, particularly Indian people under‑report. Do you have an estimation of the population of Aboriginal, First Nations, Metis people in Saskatoon?
8089 MS HENDERSON: I would say it's at least 25, 30 percent. It's quite high.
8090 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of the population?
8091 MS HENDERSON: Yeah.
8092 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. Especially the Metis because we don't ‑‑
8093 MS HENDERSON: Yes.
8094 THE CHAIRPERSON: And how many people would be coming through your doors these days?
8095 MS HENDERSON: Through our doors monthly, we'd probably have about 1500 people that comes through our doors on a regular basis.
8096 THE CHAIRPERSON: And any estimate about how many people ‑‑ I don't know ‑‑ I guess maybe on a monthly basis or a yearly basis are coming into the city?
8097 MS HENDERSON: Lots. It's ‑‑ you know, we're surrounded by several reserves.
8098 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, mmhmm.
8099 MS HENDERSON: And there's a lot of people coming in from ‑‑ into the urban centres because, you know, there's more opportunities, but it ‑‑ the numbers are high, and it's growing.
8100 THE CHAIRPERSON: Education and jobs ‑‑
8101 MS HENDERSON: Education, jobs and just for places to live, like ‑‑ you know, they need homes, and we try and assist them in locating accommodations and ‑‑
8102 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much.
8103 MS HENDERSON: Okay, thank you.
8104 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary.
8105 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
8106 I would now call on the last three appearing interveners, Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation, Joe Duquette High School and Robert A. Merasty, if you would come forward for your presentation please?
8107 THE CHAIRPERSON: I wonder, Madam Secretary, are these conflicting interveners?
8108 THE SECRETARY: I'm just told that, so perhaps we will start with Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation and we'll continue ‑‑
8109 THE CHAIRPERSON: And are you with the school? Are you Mr. Merasty?
8110 MR. MERASTY: I'm Mr. Merasty.
8111 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Merasty, if I could ask you to sit back in the ‑‑
8112 MR. MERASTY: Yes, I will.
8113 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8114 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
8115 My apologies for this. Mr. Prokopie, you can go ahead with your presentation for the Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation.
8116 Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8117 MR. PROKOPIE: Good morning, Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, Commission staff. Unfortunately Deborah Charles, MBC's CEO, is unable to be here today. She needed to depart Regina quickly yesterday afternoon. Her hope was to be back here for this morning. Unfortunately that hasn't happened, so I will do my best to present her case.
8118 I filed, this morning, some papers with the Commission secretary with regards to some notes that I will be working from at this point in time. I may not read them exactly verbatim, but I'll touch on the points that I think are certainly important towards our intervention.
8119 Number 1, MBC's objection to Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd.'s application is based on a number of salient points. From the lack of community involvement in the selection of trustees, to the inclusion of only one Aboriginal person in the trustees' list, to the generic survey provided, to the complete absence of cultural programming, it is clear that Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd.'s application lacks substantial meaningful participation by Aboriginal people.
8120 Number 2, Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd.'s application has no mechanism of accountability to Aboriginal people. The trust structure it proposes offers one seat of four to an appointed Aboriginal with no mandated responsibility to serve the Aboriginal community.
8121 Number 3, Aboriginal people cannot accept that the trust structure is sufficiently accountable to the Aboriginal community especially given the fact that only one of the trustees, again, is of First Nations descent.
8122 Number 4, a major flaw in the Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd. application is the claim that Rawlco Radio and 629112 Saskatchewan Limited are the only companies likely even to consider creating such a station. In our view, this statement by the applicants demonstrates their total disregard for the capacity of the Aboriginal community to create a radio station by, about and for the Aboriginal people.
8123 This premise is weakened all the more by the applicant's failure to acknowledge the fact that MBC, a dedicated Aboriginal broadcast organization already exists and serves the vast majority of Saskatchewan's Aboriginal population, including those in Saskatoon in 104.1 FM. With the ‑‑ and MBC does it with the most culturally attuned and relevant radio programming in the market done in the Cree, Dene, Michif and English languages.
8124 Number 5, the absence of a plan to deliver substantial and meaningful cultural programming further underscores the application's shortcomings and why it is inappropriate for these applicants to launch an Aboriginal radio station.
8125 Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd. does not offer the quality and quantity of specific cultural and linguistic, not to mention social content in their application that would speak to the real needs of Aboriginal people.
8126 To overlook primary programming elements such as broadcasts in Aboriginal languages is a clear sign of the applicant's inability to recognize and therefore address the true range of needs and interests of the Aboriginal population.
8127 Number 6, we find it somewhat ludicrous to suggest that a top 40 station that with programming that appeals to Aboriginal and non‑Aboriginal young people alike could be a seminal point in the history of Saskatoon. Such a statement, at its best, is exceedingly disgenerous and fulsome in its artful pretense. Any radio station that purports to serve Aboriginal people and fails to offer content that reflects the distinct needs and interests of this audience will fail to serve them in the degree they deserve.
8128 Number 7, MBC feels certain that our prospects for Aboriginal people living in urban centres, and in particular our youth, will not be impacted in any significant positive way by the applicants proposed undertaking. Their proposal is essentially a conventional commercial radio station with a modicum of current events, information of interest to the target demographic. We agree that a radio station can contribute to and reflect a healthy Aboriginal community. However, we find nothing in the applicant's documentation to support the claim that the one they wish to build will do just that.
8129 Number 8, the applicants ‑‑ MBC feels the applicants are unsuited to the task of building an Aboriginal radio station because it fails to recognize the intrinsic value and existing capacity of Aboriginal people and, thus, continues a feeling or an approach that is regressive, outdated and ineffective.
8130 We cite the following statement as evidence: "Central to this application is our belief that if this radio station is to truly make a difference in bringing together the Aboriginal and non‑Aboriginal communities, it must provide irrevocable evidence that Aboriginals are fully capable of staffing and programming a highly popular radio station in Saskatoon."
8131 Elsewhere in the application, this perspective is further illustrated as in this passage: "This day will truly be a historic day in the history of Canadian radio. Saskatoon, a city where the successful integration of its rapidly growing young Aboriginal population will have a tremendous bearing on its future development. It will also have" ‑‑ pardon me ‑‑ "will have an Aboriginal owned and staffed commercial radio station. It will compete on an equal playing field with the existing stations. It's stature in the city will be equal in every respect to its competitors."
8132 It is clear from these statements that the applicant believes firstly, that number 1, the capacity to staff and program a highly popular radio station in Saskatoon is not currently present in the Aboriginal population. Number 2, that only the applicants have the ability to build this capacity. And number 3, an Aboriginal radio station's value will be determined only in relation to that of conventional mainstream standards. Again, the very existence of MBC and its track record of measured steady development of its mandate to serve all Aboriginal people of Saskatoon is not only proof that these statements are false, it clearly demonstrate the applicant's regrettable failure to recognize the level of quality, service and dedication to the Aboriginal people of Saskatchewan as exemplified by MBC.
8133 Number 9, there is further evidence of the applicant's mentality, and these are perhaps most damaging to their claim of capability to serve Aboriginal people.
8134 Here is another excerpt from their application. "For young Aboriginals, this will truly be an exciting day when they hear announcers and newscasters who are every bit as good as their counterparts on the competing stations, a real sense of pride will flow through this community. For possibly the first time they will have high ‑‑ highly visible role models that they not only think are great, but that their non‑Aboriginal friends also think are great."
8135 Here is another: "Role models can have a real influence on a person's life. Aboriginals have had few role models to look up to." These statements illustrate a clear lack of understanding or respect for and connection to the Aboriginal community. Not only do we have a ‑‑ not only do we have role models, but they are plentiful. Both ‑‑ or all nationally, regionally, locally in all fields of excellence, worthy of recognition by any measure and in many cases admired by the general public.
8136 We respectfully submit that judging by the statements cited above, the applicant is part of the problem they purport to be addressing by their efforts, not the solution and, as such, are not suited to the task of creating an Aboriginal station.
8137 Number 10, Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd. claims that it will serve the Aboriginal population. However, the details of the application are so intertwined with the interests of the applicant's broadcast companies that currently own and operate as many stations as they can in the market under present regulations, that it must leave the CRTC with some very grave doubts as to their true intentions. We believe that the primary motive for the applicant's efforts is to exploit the distinct nature of Aboriginal culture for the purpose of market control that would be of benefit to the applicants.
8138 Number 11, MBC can only conclude that the applicant's efforts to establish an Aboriginal radio station in Saskatoon is a form of cultural exploitation that would undermine what MBC seeks to provide our people in Saskatoon. We feel that the Commission must reject outright any such effort to usurp the mantle of Aboriginal broadcasting especially in which is the rightful inheritance of our own people in Saskatchewan.
8139 For Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd. to claim that its application is the first to serve the Aboriginal people of the city is very unfortunate and disrespectful of the audience it claims to want to serve. Given the fundamental issues raised, the MBC does wholeheartedly urge the Commission to reject the Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd. application. That brings a close to my oral report.
8140 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Prokopie ‑‑
8141 MR. PROKOPIE: Prokopie.
8142 THE CHAIRPERSON: Prokopie. If there had been an application by P.A. Grand Council, SIGA with the same structure, the trust and that they would mentor out for a year and come back, would you have a problem with that?
8143 MR. PROKOPIE: I don't believe that we would have nearly the problem that we do have. We believe that the process would have been very different if that was the case. There would have been some initial dialogue. There would have been some consultations with MBC. There perhaps, you know, would have been an opportunity for MBC to come on board and help mentor as ‑‑
8144 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or maybe mentor, yeah.
8145 MR. PROKOPIE: ‑‑ as a word that's been used here today. So I believe the entire process, if those were the applicants, would have been very different than what is before us today.
8146 THE CHAIRPERSON: Recognizing that this isn't really a station meant to be only for Aboriginal use, it's meant to attack that group of young people, 12 to ‑‑ I'm going to say 20, who don't now listen to radio, who, you know, are on their iPods that I don't even ‑‑ can't even figure out how to program. And part of the reason was to attack that, but also then to provide positive role models but ‑‑ okay, thank you.
8147 I think Commissioner Williams has a question.
8148 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Yeah, good morning, Mr. Prokopie.
8149 I'm going to spend a bit of time on your intervention and try and understand it better and ‑‑ so as to figure out why you'd be so against this application. It's my understanding a bit from, of course, reading all the material that's presented and all the interventions and questioning the application by our panel yesterday is this is ‑‑ it's not an Aboriginal station.
8150 It's a new commercial FM radio station with, I guess, the unique characteristic about it is that the goal of the two organizations that are trying to set it up is they're going to create an opportunity for a hundred percent Aboriginal owned and staffed radio station for the princely sum of one dollar.
8151 So while I respect all your comments here, if you were speaking against an Aboriginal radio station applicant, I would probably have a better understanding than against a new commercial FM for the Saskatoon market that, in their words and what we found from them, was to appeal to all youth in the Saskatoon marketplace.
8152 I don't think they were intending to ‑‑ and I'd be willing to hear more. I don't think they were intending to compete with MBC or to try and suggest that they would do a better job than MBC in serving the Aboriginal community because what we've also learned through the process of this hearing is the Aboriginal community is very well served by MBC. They're an excellent operator in this panel member's opinion for sure.
8153 So can I have your comments on those opening statements?
8154 MR. PROKOPIE: Certainly, and I hope I, you know, have an adequate answer for you. Our intervention that was submitted to the Commission back in October and the notes that I'm working from now are based on the announcement of this proposed station. The press release that was sent out, the information that was out there definitely stated that it was, you know, an Aboriginal station.
8155 I don't have a copy of the Star Phoenix in front of me, or that newspaper, but that is what we are addressing is the information that initially came out as to what the project would be. And I'm quite confident in saying it was stated that it would be an Aboriginal radio station.
8156 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Yeah. In the documentation that's been filed with the application, were there ‑‑ it's indicated there will be future Aboriginal ownership and employees. They're ‑‑ I guess if I could use a wilder example, there could be, as my colleague ‑‑ there could be ‑‑ it could be ‑‑ could it be called an Italian station if the ownership was Italian and the employees were Italian, but it was for a commercial radio station serving Edmonton? Like, what I'm trying to get across is I don't understand where you feel that it's an Aboriginal station other than the ownership and employee makeup?
8157 MR. PROKOPIE: I go back to, you know, what I said earlier. And the pretense or the information that was out there, we truly felt and read that it was an Aboriginal radio station that, you know, what was going to be run by a trust company. It was going to be for Aboriginal people, filling a niche that is not being serviced towards Aboriginal people, and it's the first of its kind to serve Aboriginal people.
8158 So again, I go back to my initial answer is a lot of this information is based on the announcement that was made as to what the plans were for the application.
8159 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: And this announcement was you came into possession of it by reading a newspaper or listening ‑‑
8160 MR. PROKOPIE: Right.
8161 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: ‑‑ to the news?
8162 MR. PROKOPIE: It was a press release that I'm sure, you know, the applicants had sent out to other forms of media, and that's where we first heard about it.
8163 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: In other parts of your intervention, there's several quotations that I guess could be termed either insensitive to the Aboriginal community, as you suggest, or an unfortunate choice of words. I guess the jury could be out on that or maybe subject to different interpretations. How would you view that comment if people had slightly different views than what you're bringing forward?
8164 MR. PROKOPIE: I'm sorry, I must confess I really don't understand the question that you're asking me.
8165 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Oh, okay. Now, on page 3 of your intervention you quote various statements that the applicant has made and say that, based upon those statements, the applicants are not suited to the task of creating an Aboriginal radio station.
8166 I guess what I'm trying to see is if your mind is open to the idea that perhaps these comments were not meant in the way that you interpreted them. They may have been an unfortunate choice of words or something to that effect, and I'm wondering if your mind is open to that idea?
8167 MR. PROKOPIE: My mind is certainly open and, you know, I think things can and sometimes do maybe be taken out of context. I am not necessarily certain if, you know, this is the case here. Again, these quotes come from the press release that was issued.
8168 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Yeah.
8169 MR. PROKOPIE: And we just feel to state that there's no Aboriginal role models out there is not a true statement.
8170 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Oh, I agree wholeheartedly. That's a ‑‑ so you've had no opportunity to meet with the proponents of this application?
8171 MR. PROKOPIE: I know there was some meetings that were being worked towards. For some reason or other they did not happen, and from MBC's perspective, not by anything that we caused ourselves. Now, we ‑‑ you know, again there could be some miscommunication there as, you know, quite often can happen. But we certainly went into this with an open mind, and that's why we didn't respond initially when the information came out. When the press release came out, we were asked many times "Is MBC going to respond? You should respond." And we said, "No, we just ‑‑ we're going to sit back and see how things play out."
8172 We certainly were willing to dialogue with anybody, and I think we said that the other day in our Regina application. Unfortunately it didn't come to be and, again, we feel that, you know, we did what we could to ensure a meeting took place.
8173 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: On a going‑forward basis ‑‑ I'm not trying to prejudge anything out of this hearing; that may in fact go nowhere ‑‑ but would MBC be open to meeting with these proponents at some time in the future to see if they're ‑‑ it seems that MBC would be such a powerful resource to ‑‑ for these proponents to have in their ‑‑
8174 MR. PROKOPIE: That's one question that at this point ‑‑
8175 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: ‑‑ in their circle of acquaintances.
8176 MR. PROKOPIE: ‑‑ you know, I don't believe that I could answer and have go on record as the official word. I have a CEO that I get my direction from, and she gets her direction from our board of directors, and I believe that's a decision that's ‑‑
8177 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: I don't mind accepting just your opinion, recognizing that it's not the official position.
8178 MR. PROKOPIE: I believe MBC has always been willing to work with anybody, and we have worked with Mr. Rawlinson's radio group in the past through some combined ad campaigns ‑‑ and I wouldn't say necessarily "work". We've sold them air time to help some of the campaigns that they've gone out and sold and to expose those messages into the north.
8179 We are not against working with absolutely anybody. We don't want enemies, so I think anything is certainly possible. But ultimately, like I said, that decision wouldn't be mine to make.
8180 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Yeah. Thank you.
8181 I think I have a better understanding of your intervention. In the written material provided you also have your AVR response, but is that to come later?
8182 MR. PROKOPIE: I ‑‑
8183 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Prokopie was invited to intervene on the Saskatoon Radio and not on the issue of AVR.
8184 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay, thank you. That's ‑‑
8185 THE CHAIRPERSON: And in fact they didn't say they would be wanting to attend on the issue either.
8186 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay, that's why I was inquiring.
8187 Thank you, Madam Chair. And thank you, Mr. Prokopie.
8188 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vice‑Chair Arpin.
8189 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Earlier this morning and surely yesterday we surely hear interveners and applicants talking about mentoring Aboriginals. We even hear earlier today, Mr. LaRose from APTN saying that even within APTN they have difficulty to find out Aboriginal for ‑‑ to work for them. They had to supplement with other people. Are you having the same type of difficulties or what's the experience of MBC?
8190 MR. PROKOPIE: That's a very good point and, yes, we certainly do deal with those difficulties on a daily basis through all positions of our operations. To find the talent that we need is quite the challenge, and sometimes that leaves us, you know, without all the bodies in place that we quite often need, but it's a fact of life. And that's why we've entered into things like our scholarship program. That's why we've run programs in conjunction with Northlands College in La Ronge to offer a Norcom program which was a communications type program.
8191 We look at all those avenues to help us find the talent we need because, yes, there very much is a shortage of specifically First Nations talent that have the experience within the broadcast industry. And it's a daily struggle, yes.
8192 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And you remember WAAB and do you know, to your knowledge, is it the same situation in Manitoba and Alberta and BC or is it different for various reasons to your knowledge?
8193 MR. PROKOPIE: To the best of my knowledge, I believe we all struggle with the same challenges. You look at, you know, NCI and AMMSA in Edmonton, perhaps they have a little larger talent pool to draw from, which might make their lives a little easier. But in the discussions that we have, it certainly is a concern of theirs as well. Like I say, maybe not to the extent that we feel it here, but certainly a concern.
8194 And I actually heard Mr. LaRose from APTN talking about that very issue earlier.
8195 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Yeah.
8196 MR. PROKOPIE: So obviously, you know, it is quite a standardized problem across the board.
8197 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Now, Mr. LaRose says APTN has put up a program of its own that they call MF(ph), and are you knowledgeable about that program?
8198 MR. PROKOPIE: I actually just learned a little bit about it within the last 48 hours or so.
8199 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: I see. So you haven't seen the result yet going to where ‑‑ back toward your organization?
8200 MR. PROKOPIE: No, no, but it's something that we certainly look forward to.
8201 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam Chair.
8202 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Prokopie ‑‑ Prokopie. I'm sorry, for some reason I just ‑‑ my mouth can't get around it.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
8203 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8204 Madam Secretary.
8205 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
8206 I would now call on Mr. Robert Merasty. If you would come forward for your presentation?
8207 THE SECRETARY: You may start, Mr. Merasty, when you're ready and you will have ten minutes for your presentation.
8208 MR. MERASTY: Good morning, Madam Chair ‑‑
8209 THE SECRETARY: Would you please turn on your microphone, please?
8210 Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8211 MR. MERASTY: Is that better?
8212 Good morning, Madam Chair, Commission Members. I'm very honoured and excited to appear here today in support of the application from Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Corporation Ltd.
8213 A bit about myself initially, I'm an Aboriginal man, member of the Flying Dust Cree Nation near Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. I'm married, a family man with four sons. I resided in Saskatoon for most of our life, which is more than 20 years. I won't say my age. I have an education in law at Osgoode Hall University Law School and education at University of Saskatchewan. I am currently self‑employed as the principle consultant of R.A. Merasty and Associates, an Aboriginal consulting firm in Saskatoon working in Aboriginal business and human resources development and building bridges to promote opportunities for our people.
8214 I have focused my work efforts at developmental work that makes a difference in this province and my home community of Saskatoon. I was executive director of the FSIN, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, corporate circle initiative with 75 First Nations of Saskatchewan and 45 corporate organizations working together to build a stronger economic foundation for Saskatchewan by engaging our rapidly growing Aboriginal population in mainstream business activity and in the workforces.
8215 I was also a senior Aboriginal policy advisor and director of Aboriginal business with the province's Crown Investments Corporation. I have served on numerous provincial and community boards, once again to promote and enhance opportunities and build essential bridges.
8216 What I currently do, my current work involves the urban Aboriginal strategy for Saskatoon, a pilot project in response to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal people report entitled, "Gathering Strength, Canada's Action Plan For Aboriginal People". The strategy involves engaging discussions with community stakeholders and organizations to come up with a collaborative community approach and model to address Aboriginal priorities in the community, helping ‑‑ in building a stronger community.
8217 As I said, why I'm here, I'm here to support the application for Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Corporation Ltd. for a number of very solid and important reasons inclusive to the applicant.
8218 Number 1, commitment's importance ‑‑ commitment, support and sincerity for Aboriginal people. The people in the organization making the application have consistently demonstrated their commitment, support and sincerity in promoting Aboriginal cultural understanding and enhancing opportunities for Aboriginal people. It is this commitment and support that builds united strong communities.
8219 An example, in my work when I was executive director of the FSIN corporate circle, I called upon Rawlco to come in and provide their support. They did so as an organization, entire organization, and they also provided a co‑Chair. Their influence was able to leverage other corporate members and build momentum for initiative to achieve great results. This application, I believe, is a testament to their proactive attitude in accommodating the young and growing Aboriginal population in Saskatchewan and Saskatoon.
8220 I believe that Rawlco and the applicants have an established trust and relationship ‑‑ respect relationship with the Aboriginal community of Saskatoon. Their commitments to Aboriginal people are extensive. This is a partnership that will get better and more effective in meeting the needs of Aboriginal people in the community with a new radio station for Aboriginal people.
8221 Thirdly, there's a market and a need for a new radio station in Saskatoon to meet the needs of the migrating Aboriginal population, which is currently around 25,000, I believe, and it's rapidly accelerating. It will cater to a rapidly growing segment of young Aboriginal people migrating in Saskatoon. This complements the work that I'm doing currently with the urban Aboriginal strategy in Saskatoon.
8222 I've heard from the community of Saskatoon that the number one priority in their communities is youth, gang related strategies, crystal meth, drug use, a lot of problems with youth. And I think that this radio station would totally support the work that I do in the community of Saskatoon.
8223 Essential to this process is being able to communicate with young people through up‑to‑date music and promotion of wellness activities and information. Just as a side note, I did some of my own independent research with some conference people just down the hall. There's a couple young Aboriginal people there, and I ‑‑ and they said, "Why are you here?" And I said, "Well, I'm here to support the application for this new radio station." They said, "Well, that's tremendous. We totally support that. We believe that that will really help us in our community."
8224 So that's ‑‑ I think that's a need of providing a voice for the young Aboriginal people in the community and reaching them.
8225 Lastly, I think Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting is continuing to send the message to other corporations, its corporate social responsibility to support Aboriginal development. Once again, they're taking a proactive role in supporting Aboriginal people by, one, establishing a radio station for Aboriginal people, initiating a whole new career experience in training for 32 people was well, and opening the door for potential career direction for other youth in broadcasting ‑‑ other Aboriginal youth in broadcasting.
8226 I think the process they have planned makes sense. It's well thought out. Develop the radio station as a viable interest ‑‑ viable business, form a share structure in terms of the trust. Develop, mentor and educate the staff for the business where ‑‑ to the point where it's viable. Lastly, hand over total control of the business, the radio station for a dollar. And I've got a dollar in my pocket, so I'm prepared to buy the radio station if that's ‑‑
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
8227 MR. MERASTY: Lastly, I think that there's been some talk about the process the applicants use in this ‑‑ in applying for the radio station. I think that they've always been open minded in this process and are willing to work with others and I think that that's always been their attitude. They're in this process to serve a market and to foster development of our people, our Aboriginal people in Saskatoon and, as well, the Province of Saskatchewan.
8228 That's it for me. Thank you very much, and I hope that you will take my recommendations with ‑‑ sincerely.
8229 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Merasty.
8230 Where is Flying Dust?
8231 MR. MERASTY: I also call it God's country. It's near Meadow Lake, which is about three hours north of Saskatoon.
8232 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right, okay. You're not related to Gary?
8233 MR. MERASTY: Same family tree, different branches.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
8234 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, yeah.
8235 MR. MERASTY: We all have the same focus, yeah.
8236 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
8237 Madam Secretary.
8238 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
8239 I understand that Joe Duquette High School, the representative is present. My apologies. I should have not skipped over. If they would come forward for their presentation?
8240 MR. MERASTY: Are you finished with me then?
8241 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
8242 MR. MERASTY: Thank you very much.
8243 THE SECRETARY: If you could please identify yourself for the record? And then you will have ten minutes for your presentation. Please go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8244 MR. HOWE: My name is Evan Howe, and I'm a Metis teacher at Joe Duquette High School.
8245 The first thing I want to say is that I'm not here representing Joe Duquette High School. I'm only here representing myself and my experience as a media studies teacher at the school and my relationship, I guess, as a teacher at that school with Rawlco Radio.
8246 I've been teaching at Joe Duquette for six years, and Joe Duquette is a school that is of total Aboriginal student population. And they emphasize Plains Cree spirituality and culture, and that's what makes it unique. My first three weeks there, I was teaching grade 11 media studies and, in that capacity, I was ‑‑ I approached Rawlco Radio in my first year and I asked, "Could you send someone over to speak to my media studies class". And they sent Ramblin' Dave Scharf, and he did a history of rock and roll, and that became an ongoing thing.
8247 We also got some other senior staff members from Rawlco to come and do presentations about the radio industry because I was trying to get my students ‑‑ and that's the problem with media studies class is it's about analyzing things in kind of a cerebral way, but I wanted them to get more of a hands‑on kind of feel for different media institutions, and Rawlco was the only one that really stepped up to the plate and said, "Yes, we'll help you with this."
8248 So they sent people over to really outline what the radio industry is all about and they took students on tours on a regular basis, and that's one of the questions I remember my students always asking these presenters from Rawlco, "Why doesn't radio stations like C95 or Rock 102 ‑‑ how come we don't hear the music we want to hear?" That was a repetitive question.
8249 So when we went on one of these tours, there was this ‑‑ this is a grade 11 class, and we're all waiting in front of the school to take a bus to Rawlco. And there's this one student named Penny, who is actually a grade 12 student and wasn't even a student of mine. And she ditched her class and said, "Evan, can I come with you guys?" And I said, "Penny, you're not even in my class. What are you doing? You know, does your teacher know about this?" "Well, no, but I really, really want to go to the radio station. This is something I've always wanted to do." I said, "Well, I'll ask your teacher's permission and, if she says it's all right, yes." So I did, and she was allowed to go.
8250 So she was the most excited person on the tour, and some of the students were into it and some weren't, and it's like whatever. But she was there. She was asking questions. We saw all the different departments. I was just grateful she came along. The following ‑‑ or it was that same year. This was my second year teaching, I thought, you know, I would like to give a grade 12 student the opportunity to do something like mentorship. I called it an internship.
8251 So I approached Rawlco about this, and they said, "Okay. Well, you know, we've done, like, job shadowing with other schools in the past. We could do something like that." And I said, "You know, that's not going to cut it for me. I want it to be more than that. I want these students to see that there's a real job, a real career opportunity in this industry that they maybe haven't looked at before. I want it to be more substantial than job shadowing. I want it to be like on‑the‑job training. I want them to get their hands into it.
8252 So they said, "Okay. Well, you know, let us think about it because we haven't done that before." And this was years ago. And they did. They came to me within a couple of months' time. They said, "We've been talking about it. We've come up with a package and a plan and a way to do this. We'll try it out." So they said, "We'll take one grade 12 student. You make the selection, and we'll take them on as an intern, and it won't be job shadowing. It will actually be the way you described it; hands‑on, working in each of the different departments."
8253 So of course, you know, I told the grade 12s, and Penny was the first one with her hand up, saying, "Give me this opportunity." So we got her connected with Rawlco, and she started going on a regular basis. I think it was every Wednesday afternoon. Our school liaison worker would drive her over to Rawlco, their building, and she would spend a couple of hours there and she loved it, and they enjoyed having her there. Her positive energy, her commitment, it was just a really good fit.
8254 Eventually ‑‑ and the thing is they stepped up to the plate. They kept their word, what they said they would do. They started a mentorship. Not only did they introduce her to the different departments, they got her to do voice‑overs. They got her to do little jobs in the different areas. They actually started booking her hours as an operator, I believe, payable hours. They got her working part time for them, and I was thinking, awesome. That's exactly what I wanted. That was my dream, and they stepped up to the plate and they did that.
8255 So now they've come with this package of a radio station staffed by Aboriginal people and, especially, they told me a substantial chunk of that staff will be youth, and this is exactly what I had dreamt. You know, this is like taking that to that next level. This is what I want to see.
8256 And that's why I'm here supporting what they're doing because it's talking about not just jobs for Aboriginal youth. It's talking about careers, something portable they take with them. Even if they don't stay with this new station, they could go somewhere else. And with that training, that expertise, they have employment. They have a career that goes with them wherever they live.
8257 Yeah, I don't know what else to say, just I see only good here. I see good opportunities so I'm looking at the positives. I'm thinking of my students, and this is what I'd always hoped for them, something in this vein.
8258 So here it is. They're presenting it here and now. The opportunity is here, and I hope with all my heart that you'll give them this licence. So I thank you for listening to me, Madam Chair, Members of the Board. And if you have any questions for me, I'll be glad to answer them.
8259 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Howe, it seems to me that there are many applicants for radio stations in Saskatoon and they're all talking about offering scholarships for kids, particularly Aboriginal kids. And it sounds to me like you're the kind of guy they should come to and say "Look, we've got seven scholarships. You know, is there somebody you want to choose". But what you're saying is you need more than that. You need broadcasters to be interested in interning, I guess, and then mentoring?
8260 MR. HOWE: Yes.
8261 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are there ‑‑ do you still teach media studies?
8262 MR. HOWE: No, the school, at this time, has discontinued the program just out of lack of student interest.
8263 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh. Okay, what a shame.
8264 MR. HOWE: Yeah, I agree.
8265 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did you have any kids who went on other than Penny or ‑‑
8266 MR. HOWE: No, because after that year, the media studies class was discontinued, and it didn't make a good fit. Like, my other classes, English or whatever, and convincing the principal "Can I take my news class to Rawlco for a tour" didn't make sense so, no, it didn't continue.
8267 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. Okay, thank you. Thank you very much.
8268 MR. HOWE: Thank you.
8269 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary.
8270 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
8271 And that ‑‑ this completes the list of the appearing interveners, therefore Phase II. We're now ready to proceed to Phase IV. And perhaps before we start, I'd just like to enter on the record a couple of documents that were filed with the panel.
8272 One of them is AVR's schedule of commitments to be received by the applicant, AVR, from third parties, from 2006 to 2012. This will be added to their application. The other one is the response to ‑‑ by Rawlco during their intervention, questions that were asked of the panel with respect to their Edmonton and Calgary application costs, as well as the staffing costs with respect to their Edmonton radio station. This document has been filed with the panel in confidence. Therefore it is not available to the public.
8273 We are now ready to proceed to Phase IV, Madam Chair, and we have been advised last night by Jim Pattison Broadcast, they will not appear. Therefore the next applicant, their reply to interventions, would be Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Inc., if they are wishing to appear.
8274 THE SECRETARY: Gentlemen, if you could just, again, please introduce yourself for the record and then you'll have ten minutes.
8275 Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8276 MR. RAWLINSON: Gordon Rawlinson with Rawlco Radio.
8277 MR. HILDEBRAND: Elmer Hildebrand, 629122 Saskatchewan.
8278 MR. RAWLINSON: So I'd just like to just clarify a couple of things. Number one, we did not send out a press release. Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting did not send out a press release. There was a newspaper story which was run shortly afterwards.
8279 Second thing is, is that shortly after we filed, we called both AVR and Missinipi Broadcasting and said what we were doing and said, "Would you like us to send a copy our application?" And they said, "Yes". And so we sent a copy of our application to them, and I spoke to Deborah Charles, the chairperson of Missinipi and said, "So what did you think?" And she said, "Well, there was mixed reaction amongst our board. Some people were okay and some people weren't ‑‑ were unhappy." And I said, "Really? Well, maybe we should get together and talk about it." I was actually quite surprised ‑‑ maybe naively so, but I was quite surprised that they would be ‑‑ I thought they'd be ‑‑ think this was terrific.
8280 So we arranged a meeting, set a time for a meeting, and then Mrs. Charles had one ‑‑ somebody who worked for her call me and say, "So what exactly are the points that you want to make in the meeting?" And I said, "Well, gee, I don't know what you mean. Would you like me to send a copy of the application to you to?" And he said, "No, I've got that. You know, what is it you want to say in this meeting?" And I said, "Well, actually I don't have anything to say. I thought that the purpose of the meeting was for you to tell us what your concerns were." And he said, "Okay."
8281 Somehow that got misinterpreted back to Ms Charles that we did not want to meet, and she cancelled the meeting. And that was very unfortunate and that's all we know, but that's exactly what happened. And I was ‑‑ it was me personally doing this, so I know exactly what was said and what wasn't said. And so I'm sorry that there's been ‑‑ that's there's some ‑‑ been some miscommunication. We'd be happy to meet with them at any time, and so I guess that's all I have to say about that.
8282 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8283 Madam Secretary.
8284 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, gentlemen.
8285 We'll now proceed to the next applicant, the Aboriginal Voices Radio, if they wish to appear in this phase?
8286 THE SECRETARY: Again, if you could please introduce yourself for the record? And you have ten minutes for your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8287 MR. HILL: Chair, Members of the Commission, Commission staff, colleagues and broadcasters and ladies and gentlemen, my name is Jamie Hill. I'm the president of Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc.
8288 I want to thank the many positive supporters who took the time to convey their support for the AVR application. I especially want to thank May Henderson of the Saskatchewan Indian & Metis Friendship Centre who travelled from Saskatoon to contribute to this process.
8289 I also gratefully acknowledge the support of Phil Fontaine, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations; George Erasmus, co‑Chair of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People; Beverley Jacobs, President of the Native Women's Association of Canada; Vera Pawis‑Tabobondung, President of the National Association of Friendship Centres; and other interveners who supported our national Aboriginal radio service.
8290 We would also like to dispel any suggestion that AVR does not have the Saskatchewan Native community. The FSIN has been supportive of AVR in the past, and the Commission will have already noted that AVR received the positive support of Perry Bellegarde, former Grand Chief of the FSIN and Regional Chief of Saskatchewan.
8291 Not on your file, but contained in a letter I received today from Morley Watson, the current FSIN Vice Chief, is the following statement: "The FSIN would like to state that we fully support the application of Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. to receive licences to broadcast in Saskatoon and Regina. The FSIN continues to support the AVR vision of a much needed national Aboriginal radio service, and warmly welcome you to our territories and wish you success." End of quote.
8292 He also indicated that he was sorry he could not participate in the Commission's hearings. You will appreciate that FSIN has been engaged in the ‑‑ in its election processes. We would be pleased to supply a copy of the letter to the hearing secretary should you wish.
8293 We are delighted to have received strong support from such stars of the Aboriginal Canadian music scene as John Arcand, Donny Parenteau, Eekwol, and Andrea Menard. They understand the value of a national Aboriginal radio service both to their own development as musicians, but also to the Aboriginal communities from which they come.
8294 Finally, we want to comment on two proposed conditions of licence, namely the spoken‑word condition of licence and the local programming condition of licence. Our goal is to have a common set of COLs for all of our stations. This would include both Regina and Saskatoon, should you approve our applications, and the four stations up for renewal in the next item today.
8295 We are happy to have that conversation in the context of our renewals, and we would understand that whatever you may decide would apply equally to Saskatoon and Regina. From a procedural point of view, we just want to keep the door open to the clarifications, modifications that might result from that discussion and which might, therefore, affect our Regina and Saskatoon applications.
8296 More specifically, there was some interpretation issues related ‑‑ relating to our spoken‑word condition as regards the staff monitor of a week of AVR programming. Please note that we propose no change to the current COL regarding spoken word, nor do we think any deviation from the framework set out in your Public Notice CRTC 2000‑4 is required ‑‑ 14 is required. We can have a more fulsome discussion of our thinking now or during your consideration of the next item, as you see fit.
8297 Secondly, we spoke to the Chair yesterday about AVR's proposed condition of licence relating to local programming in each of Regina and Saskatoon. During our preparations for the next item, we arrived at the conclusion that we should be looking to achieve symmetry in AVR's local programming commitments in each of its markets.
8298 AVR would like to use 25 percent of the broadcast week as that standard. That translates into 31.5 hours per broadcast week. That is the quantum we therefore also propose for each of Regina and Saskatoon. It is also the amount that we will be proposing for each of Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa in our next appearance.
8299 Finally, both the local programming commitment and the spoken‑word commitment are very large and represent significant commitments.
8300 Thank you very much.
8301 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you actually proposing that in a renewal, after seven years of a licence, that you would get another two years to start local programming in some of these areas?
8302 MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, we are. The two years was ‑‑ went back ‑‑
8303 THE CHAIRPERSON: I just wanted to know because I didn't realize that was an issue in the renewal. You're very lucky, Mr. Hill. At the first hearing you said yes to one COL. You came back at the second hearing about that very COL, and your lawyer said yes to that one. And now you're having a third hearing. This is the last hearing on AVR, so make sure that what you agree to, you know what you're agreeing to.
8304 Thank you.
8305 MR. HILL: Thank you.
8306 THE SECRETARY: We'll now call on the next appearing applicant, Radio CJVR Ltd., if they wish to appear in this phase?
8307 THE SECRETARY: Again, if you can ‑‑ just for the record, if you could just introduce your panel, Mr. Singer? And you'll have ten minutes for your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8308 MR. SINGER: Good morning.
8309 I'm Ken Singer. I'm vice president of broadcast operations for Radio CJVR. With me I have, from Insightrix Research in Saskatoon, Corrin Harper and Jessica Schnell. Good morning, Madam Chair and Commissioners.
8310 Thanks for this opportunity to appear before you throughout the this week and for your fairness in these hearings. We'd like to thank the individuals and organizations who wrote letters of support on behalf of our applications heard this week.
8311 And just now I'd like to just address some comments made to some of the earlier presentations this morning. We commend Mr. Rawlinson and Mr. Hildebrand for their excellent level of service they provide to the Saskatoon community. As noted earlier, we feel that such support for community organizations will only increase with the addition of more broadcasters in the market.
8312 Community service is at the heart of CJVR's being. It's not dependent on the level of competition. It's more about the commitment we made in obtaining our licence.
8313 Regarding the letters, there are many letters solicited by the two Saskatoon broadcasters of ‑‑ letters of support. We wonder how many of these letters would have been written had the writers been aware of Mr. Rawlinson and Mr. Hildenbrand's plans for a seventh licence in the market, namely the Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Trust. Many of these letters were written just prior to the August 31st publication of the applicants for new licences in Saskatoon.
8314 Finally, concerning the comments about the research used in our application, we stand by the findings that Insightrix Research provided. Regarding out‑of‑market tuning, the survey asked 500 respondents aged 18 to 55 which stations you remember listening to in the last seven days. The response was clear that 21.6 percent indicated tuning to out‑of‑market signals from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, as well as satellite and Internet tuning.
8315 I will ask our researchers from Insightrix to further comment on those findings.
8316 MS SCHELL: Thanks, Ken.
8317 Madam Chair, that's correct. The question was, "Please tell me all the stations you remember listening to in the past seven days", so there was a time limit. I think it was alluded to that it was sort of an open comment, but there was "within the past seven days".
8318 We did also ask another question said ‑‑ that said, "Which one station is your favourite, that is the radio station you listen to most often?" And so again, not looking at their ‑‑ what their second choice is and whether that's in market or out of market, but in terms of their favourite station, about 12.2 percent indicated that their favourite station was out of market. So with 22 percent saying they've listened in the past seven days to an out of market station and 12.2 percent saying their favourite station is out of market, I think that sort of is a little bit higher than what was alluded to earlier.
8319 So I also just want to remind the Commission, as well, that there was a number of other statistics that came out of our survey which 70 percent indicated that they would listen more often if programming was available ‑‑ other programming was available, if they liked it and it was available, 65 percent agreed or strongly agreed that there is currently similar programming being offered among the stations. And 50 percent on a scale of 1 to 5 rated 3 or less, indicating that they were not totally satisfied with the choice of stations. So 1 being totally not satisfied, 5 being totally satisfied, 50 percent rated it 3 or less.
8320 So it's ‑‑ I think I just want to remind the Commission there's other results in here as well, but in regards to that 22 percent, we wanted to clarify that too, so I think that's it.
8321 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vice‑Chair Arpin.
8322 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Mr. Singer, Miss ‑‑ will you agree that different surveys will have different methodology and arrive at different results? And I'm here asking the question and looking at the results that BBM has released for fall of 2005. BBM obviously is a survey of ‑‑ I don't know how many persons or households are surveyed in the Saskatoon market, but it is a diary system and ‑‑ on which people record their listening habits, and so it is a different methodology and they could arrive at different results.
8323 MR. SINGER: Commissioner Arpin, I do certainly agree that different methodology there will produce variances for certain. My experience with BBM is that I always feel the sample sizes are fairly small, and I ‑‑ as I say these are two totally different methodologies. These are our findings. We based our comments and our applications based on the research as submitted.
8324 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Well, I appreciate that and I appreciate how ‑‑ that there was an issue made this morning that ‑‑ regarding your own results. I understand ‑‑ your own methodology, I have no problem. I understand them and how you did arrive as those numbers. The one thing is that the Commission has to weigh that ‑‑ those ‑‑ all those studies that have been made by the various applicants and ‑‑ in using its benchmark, and the benchmark is ‑‑ for the radio industry has been the BBM for the last 60 years. And so that's why I'm asking my question, and you gave me my answer.
8325 Thank you.
8326 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8327 MR. SINGER: Thank you very much.
8328 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
8329 So we'll now proceed with Touch Broadcasting Canada Inc., if they'd like to make a presentation at this stage?
8330 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Hunsperger, you have ten minutes for your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8331 MR. HUNSPERGER: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
8332 First of all, and we want to thank the interveners that sent in letters in support of our application. We also want to thank many of the broadcasters who also support our application in coming into Saskatoon. And I also want to thank Madam Chair and the Commissioners and the staff for the marathon that you've had this past week, and we pray that you have a safe trip and a restful week next week.
8333 Thank you.
8334 THE SECRETARY: And we will continue with Standard Radio Inc., if they wish to come forward?
8335 THE SECRETARY: Ms Taylor, you can go ahead anytime.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8336 MS TAYLOR: Thank you.
8337 Madam Chair, Commissioners, first of all, this has truly been a public process this past week and has required an extraordinary amount of attention and mental energy. I'd like to thank you for the obvious attention you paid our file, as well as those of our colleagues. It's been a complex hearing.
8338 Since the Rawlco/Golden West intervention this morning was not restricted to just the Saskatoon portion of the hearings, I appreciate this time to just make a few general comments on the discussion that went on earlier this morning.
8339 As a former resident of Saskatchewan, I know first‑hand what a special place this province is to live in and I do believe that there may be no better place to raise a family. Acknowledging that Saskatoon and Regina are distinct and that Saskatchewan is different, and agreeing quite frankly that the local broadcasters in this city are very imbedded in their community, it puts us in the very uncomfortable position of pointing out that, while all that may be true, they certainly don't own the market on excellent and thorough public and community service.
8340 We, too, pride ourselves on these very principles and point to our many markets ‑‑ some smaller, some larger ‑‑ as proof, and we do spend considerable time, energy and finances.
8341 On the economics discussion, is there population growth? Yes, in both Regina and Saskatoon. Modest of course, but it's on the right side of the ledger, and we believe that speaks volumes, particularly since Alberta, with its now chronic worker shortage, is right next door.
8342 Are the GDP retail sales and income levels growing? Yes. I think we agree on that. How much and whether it will sustain is, I believe, where the largest disagreement comes.
8343 Standard Radio is a private company that's anxious to start what we believe could be a very long history here. We aren't coming into this market or hoping to come into this market because it will make us rich ‑‑ quite the opposite. However, we do want to do business here. We want to contribute, to help, to strengthen, to grow, and we have gone to what we believe are considerable lengths to do so without an adverse effect on the incumbents.
8344 We do bring more than musical diversity. We do bring a fresh editorial voice and a new way for advertisers to speak with their prospective clients and a fresh willingness to assist those voices in the community whose voices still do remain unheard. Because of that, in addition to Standard Radio, we do believe that AVR is also a worthy applicant.
8345 So finally, thank you very much. And on behalf of Standard Radio and Gary Slaight who was unable to attend these hearings this week, we do appreciate your efforts and your attention.
8346 Thank you.
8347 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm going to get whiplash checking out if my ‑‑ any of my colleagues have anything to say.
8348 Thank you, Ms Taylor. We have no questions.
8349 THE SECRETARY: Mrs. Chair, we'll now proceed with Harvard Broadcasting Inc., if they wish to come forward at this time?
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8350 MR. COWIE: Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, my name is Bruce Cowie, vice president of Harvard Broadcasting. And with me, on my left, is Debra McLaughlin of Strategic Inc., and our legal counsel, Rob Malcolmson on my right.
8351 Let me begin by thanking you and the Commission staff for all your patience and assistance this week. At the outset, many wondered how you would get through this agenda in the prescribed time, and here we are near the end of the phase. I believe congratulations are in order for all. Out of respect for that pace, we will be very short in our conversation with you this morning.
8352 We would like to briefly respond to the intervention by Rawlco, Hildebrand and Goldstein. Madam Chair, you asked Mr. Goldstein to provide data dating back to 2000 for three economic indicators. We have not seen what Mr. Goldstein has provided, and perhaps it has not yet been filed. What we can tell you is that we've obtained this data from Conference ‑‑ from the Conference Board, and it shows growth in Saskatoon in each of those indicators. Population has grown by 2.7 percent since 2000. GDP has grown by over 20 percent since 2000, and retail sales, a key indicator when it comes to predicting radio advertising revenue, has grown by 40 percent since 2000.
8353 Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, this is factual, reliable, long‑term data, and what it shows is significant growth in this market since the year 2000.
8354 Combine this indicator with another key economic indicator, economic diversity, and it's clear that the Saskatoon market is growing and is highly diversified. As you noted, Madam Chair, the Conference Board of Canada ranked Saskatoon at .93 for diversity, with 1 being the perfect score. In fact, Saskatoon ranked second in the entire country in this key indicator.
8355 Mr. Rawlinson and Mr. Hildebrand say there is no revenue in the market to support a new entrant, yet Mr. Rawlinson and Mr. Hildebrand also say that as applicants for a new licence in Saskatoon, that they will be applying. And the final projections filed by that application project $9.3 million in revenue over the first licence term. Suffice it to say, there's fundamental contradiction here.
8356 And finally, there's the issue of impact. During his intervention, Mr. Hildebrand admitted that a youth oriented format would have the least impact on his station. Mr. Rawlinson was less clear on the point, but the fact that Rawlco and Hildebrand have themselves filed an application for a new youth oriented licence would seem to suggest that this format would have the least impact on their existing services.
8357 Madam Chair and Commissioners, we ask you to take all of these factors into account when deciding whether to issue a new licence is Saskatoon and we thank you for allowing us to appear today.
8358 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We have no questions.
8359 Madam Secretary.
8360 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
8361 And I would ask Newcap Inc. if they wish to come forward in Phase IV?
8362 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Maheu, you have ten minutes for your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8363 MR. MAHEU: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
8364 Mark Maheu for Newcap Radio. Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, Commission staff, I just would like to take a couple of brief moments here to, first of all, thank you for an excellent opportunity, an excellent hearing. It's been a wonderful week. I want to especially thank the staff and the folks in the examination room. They've been very helpful, and things were on time, and it was very well run. So thank you, and we applaud your efforts.
8365 Newcap would like to very briefly speak to a couple of points raised by the interveners we heard earlier this morning, specifically the comments from Mr. Hildebrand and Mr. Rawlinson regarding the proposed new licence for Saskatoon.
8366 Mr. Hildebrand mentioned this morning, one of the points he made was that national sales in the marketplace were off this year, or off recently. I think the number he quoted was 15 percent, and he did not mention whether or not ‑‑ and if he did, I didn't hear it, but I don't think he mentioned what trend local sales were taking in the market, only that national was off by 15 percent.
8367 Just in thinking about national sales in a market the size of Saskatoon, based on our experience, national sales normally are about 20 percent of the radio revenue in a marketplace. So if national sales are down 15 percent, it's 15 percent of 20 percent, so it's a small amount of a small number.
8368 To put it into perspective for you, if local sales in the market were up 3 and a half percent, that would mitigate the entire 15 percent reduction in national sales so that would level things off. And also in a market the size of Saskatoon, or even a market like Regina, one national buy from a major client, like an agri business client ‑‑ for instance, sometimes people come in and out of radio ‑‑ one major client not buying radio during a season could make that kind of difference percentage‑wise in a marketplace.
8369 Suffice it to say that we believe that local revenue is what drives a radio station's success. They have a certain amount of control and influence over that revenue, so I just wanted to mention that.
8370 Mr. Hildebrand also mentioned that Saskatoon ‑‑ I think his quote was, "The city is one of the best served in Canada." And I don't think there's any doubt and I don't think anybody at this hearing, especially Newcap, is here casting any dispersions about the effort in the work and the job that the broadcasters in Saskatoon do. They do an excellent job and they've ‑‑ they build a great franchise in those marketplaces, but that doesn't change the fact that there are a number of large and popular formats missing in Saskatoon for a city that size. And when we talk about service to the community or a community being served, that is a very important element that needs to be considered, along with spoken word and community service and community events and the good will you're building in the marketplace.
8371 The number one reason people come to radio in the first place, how you get them in the door is the music that you play. And then once ‑‑ especially if you're in a music format. And then once you've been able to build a bond with them with the music you play, all the other services that you provide build the kind of loyalty and partisanship to your brand or to your station. So for the community to be as well served as some other markets might be, some of those missing formats need to be addressed.
8372 Mr. Goldstein mentioned this morning that he expressed concern about the market's capacity to absorb the revenue lost by the introduction of new licensees. More radio, in our experience ‑‑ and the numbers seem to bear this out. The more radio that's available in a marketplace, especially when new stations are introduced, the bigger radio share the advertising pie gets. And history and the facts show very conclusively that in every market of any size where the Commission has licensed new licences, when you take a look at markets that subscribe to TRAM(ph), or you could do it from the CRTC returns on markets that are not tracked by TRAM, you see an inordinate growth over the first couple of years in that market and the amount of money spent in radio well above the previous trend.
8373 And if you look at the numbers for markets like Kitchener‑Waterloo where three new stations were licensed back, I believe, in 2002, if you take a look at a recent example in Edmonton where new licences went on the air in the past 18 months, and you take a look at the accelerated radio revenue growth rates that took place in those markets, you could also see it in the annual returns that are going to be filed by the end of this month for PEI, for Halifax, for Ottawa, and next year you'll see the next same thing in Calgary. And what we're trying to say is whenever you license new licences in a marketplace, there are more people selling radio in the market, more radio salespeople knocking on more doors, radio gets a higher profile, and new money is created for the medium. This combined with the growth rate that we're anticipating, the economic growth in Saskatoon can more than handle new licensees in the marketplace.
8374 What it boils down to, just to close, it ‑‑ this proceeding about Saskatoon has made me think about something Charles Darwin said, which I think is very relevant. And he said in the Origin of Species that the capacity for a species to survive is not dependent upon how strong you are or how intelligent you are, but rather your ability to adapt. And we know if new licensees are granted a licence in Saskatoon, the marketplace will adapt. The incumbent broadcasters will adapt. New licensees will adapt as they do in every other market across Canada, and the end result is better service for the Saskatoon market.
8375 Thanks very much for the opportunity to present the ideas that we did, and we look forward to your response when it happens.
8376 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Maheu.
8377 MR. MAHEU: Thank you very much.
8378 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary ‑‑ oh, we're over. We're done.
8379 THE SECRETARY: We are done, Madam Chair. So this completes the considerations of item 17 to 25 on the agenda.
8380 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank ‑‑
8381 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
8382 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8383 It is now quarter after 12. If we could start at quarter after one? I'm giving you an hour. I think it's pretty good.
8384 Thank you very much.
‑‑‑ Recess at 1215 / Suspension à 1215
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1315 / Reprise à 1315
8385 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order please.
8386 Madam Secretary.
8387 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
8388 Before we proceed to the next item, I would just like to indicate for the record that Radio CJVR has filed a letter with the panel with respect to the CTD contributions to FACTOR in respect of their Medicine Hat, Regina and Saskatoon applications. This letter will be placed on each application file.
8389 We will now proceed with item 26 on the agenda, which are applications by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc., AVR, to renew the licences of the Native Type B radio programming undertakings, CKAV‑FM Toronto, CKAV‑FM‑2 Vancouver, and its transmitters at Abbotsford, CKAV‑FM 3 Calgary, and CKAV‑FM 9 Ottawa, which are expiring on the 31st March 2007.
8390 In relation to application number 2006‑0244‑2, an application by Aboriginal Voices Radio to renew the licence of its Native Type B radio programming undertaking, CKAV‑FM Toronto in notice of public hearing CRTC 2006‑9, the Commission stated that it appeared that the licence may have ‑‑ that the licensee may have failed to comply with its conditions of licence that it ensure that a minimum of 25 percent of all programming broadcast each broadcast week is spoken‑word programming.
8391 The Commission has determined that it has insufficient evidence to assert that AVR has not complied with this condition of licence and will not address this issue at this public hearing.
8392 Appearing for the applicant is Mr. Jamie Hill who will introduce his colleagues. Mr. Hill, you will have then 20 minutes for your presentation.
8393 Please go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8394 MR. HILL: Thank you very much.
8395 Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, Commission staff, colleagues and broadcasters and ladies and gentlemen. My name is Jamie Hill. I'm the president of Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc.
8396 I realize that it has been a long week for all concerned. As this is the third day in as many days that I will have introduced our panel to you, I will simply state their names for the record. They are Bob Wood, Roy Hennessy, Patrice Mousseau, and Grant Buchanan. Lewis Cardinal unfortunately had to return to Edmonton this morning.
8397 Today we are pleased to speak to AVR's licence renewal applications regarding each of Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary. I will begin by reiterating that the primary mission of AVR is to improve the lives of Aboriginal Canadians. In that regard, it is vitally important for them to see themselves reflected in the media or to reverse the historical legacy and to assist in finding solutions to the problems that Aboriginal Canadians face today. In my remarks this afternoon, I propose first to look back briefly at the past licence term and then to comment on certain issues raised by the Commission.
8398 The Toronto station was AVR's first and was licensed in June 2000. This was followed quickly in 2001 by the next three stations, which are each part of this review; Calgary in March, Vancouver in June, and Ottawa in October. Between May and July of 2003, the Commission also granted AVR licences in Montreal and Kitchener‑Waterloo, and a rebroad in Abbotsford, BC. Finally, in April of 2004 Edmonton was added.
8399 The Commission will appreciate that the AVR team was not prepared to watch immediately in all those places but responded, in some cases, to Commission calls for applications out of concern that frequencies might not exist when AVR was ready. The Commission has been supportive and patient with AVR, and we are deeply appreciative of that. Indeed, this is this a special week in that regard. The Commission's decision awarding a licence to CHUM was upheld and, with it, a guaranteed 4.515 million to be contributed by CHUM to AVR.
8400 Each of your decisions was accompanied by a date by which AVR had to commence operations. While Toronto launched successfully a number of years ago, for each of the other three services under consideration today, that commencement dated represented a constantly changing target. That date was extended by the Commission a number of times in each of Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary.
8401 At the beginning of this year, AVR faced the embarrassing prospect of getting to the end of a licence term in each of those cities with little to show for it, but the people at AVR, including its new board of directors, persevered. And I am pleased to tell you that we have now launched in each of Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal, with Vancouver just around the corner. We are hopeful that Edmonton will soon be joining them, while Kitchener‑Waterloo is slightly further down the track.
8402 The dream that we all had and that the Commission helped, by granting the approvals that it did, has now come to fruition. The dream is not yet totally complete as we have indicated in prior licensing hearings, and as the Commission has recognized in the early days, the various markets are dependent on the network feed from Toronto until they up ‑‑ are up and running and able to supply the local programming.
8403 In the cases of Ottawa and Calgary, they have been on the air only four months. While AVR's Vancouver service awaits only the FCC's response with respect to its latest frequency choice, as you know, both the Commission and Industry Canada have already signed off on that frequency, and we are ready to pull the switch.
8404 In broadcasting notice of public hearing CRTC 2006‑9, the Commission raised four issues that it indicated that it might want to explore with AVR. These were the following: A, a possible logging violation; B, a possible violation of its spoken‑word condition of licence; C, concern relating to Aboriginal languages commitment; D, concern relating to local programming commitment.
8405 Later, in a subsequent additional notice on October 16th, 2006, the Commission stated that it also wished to address the apparent failure of AVR to file annual returns for CKMV‑FM Toronto for the years 2001/2002, 2002 to '03, and 2003/'04. I will address each of the Commission's concerns in sequence.
8406 Regarding the logging tapes, I have reviewed this matter carefully and with the staff at AVR responsible for logger tapes. The first CD containing logger tapes that was sent to the Commission could not be opened. The follow‑up tape that Commission staff did successfully open was missing a couple of files. Staff was correct; it was missing files. And the explanation is as follows: The logging system that AVR uses is called RadioLover. It takes an individual broadcast stream and records the audio in stereo MP3 format. RadioLover also breaks down each individual hour and stamps the file name with the current time and date. This system is dependent upon an Internet connection. If an Internet connection is terminated, there is no way for the stream to record.
8407 Last fall, AVR had several technical malfunctions as a result of moving its studios. One of these malfunctions was a drop in the Internet feed several times during the CRTC monitoring period, resulting in blank periods in its audio logs. This was clearly a frugal but unacceptable methodology and required immediate remedial action.
8408 AVR is now logging off‑site, directly from radio transmission as well as with RadioLover. The signal is being recorded using a personal computer, an uninterrupted power‑supply unit with 12 hours of battery life and FM receiver and software called Audio Logger Pro. Since AVR began using this method, there have been no missed logs due to dropped Internet connections and the logs are stored off site to ensure their safety.
8409 In addition, as we have prepared plans for the construction of our network master control room, we have included the iMediaTouch logger system. This system includes not one, but two separate logging recording systems in each city which provides a redundant logger at each station. Should a fault occur with the primary logger, the second logger takes over the logging function. And in the master control in Toronto, the system monitor indicates a malfunction allowing us to request immediate servicing by our local technician. This system also allows us to perform the logging function in the master control room in parallel to each local station. Therefore we will have four times redundancy to ensure that we have logger tapes whenever required. This is the same system that is employed by CBC Galaxie for logging their multitude of pay audio music channels.
8410 Chair, Members of the Commission, we fully understand the critical importance of logger tapes to the regulatory process and can assure you that we have taken the necessary steps to avoid a repetition of this event.
8411 Regarding spoken‑word condition of licence, as per discussions with legal counsel during the past week, we understand that AVR's condition of licence relating to spoken word is no longer an issue from the Commission's perspective. We are very appreciative of your efforts ‑‑ of the efforts your staff made in resolving this matter. In any event, I can reassure the Commission that, as we speak, AVR continues to be in compliance with the 25 percent spoken‑word condition of licence.
8412 We are also prepared to discuss details regarding interpretation of this environment during question period but, from our perspective, we were content with the level and content ‑‑ and content with the requirements of Public Notice CRTC 2000‑14.
8413 Regarding Aboriginal languages, as Mr. Cardinal advised the Commission earlier in the week, AVR is proud that Ron Ignace, the Chair of the Task Force on Aboriginal Languages Initiatives joined the AVR board of directors last month. We look forward to his valued input with respect to Aboriginal language programming, among other things. AVR remains as committed as ever to the preservation, protection and promotion of Aboriginal languages.
8414 In recent correspondence with the Commission and its applications Regina and Saskatoon, AVR indicated that it would have no difficulty continuing with the 2 percent Aboriginal music and 2 percent Aboriginal spoken‑word conditions of licence that all AVR stations are subject to. The Commission, in the deficiency process, asked if AVR would accept the refinement of the spoken‑word commitment to ensure that the 2 percent of Aboriginal programming occurs during the broadcast day. AVR has indicated in writing to the Commission that it accepts that change as proposed in the Commission's deficiency letter.
8415 Regarding local programming, the Commission's Notice of Public Hearing noted, "AVR's increased preference to focus on national network programming rather than its original local programming commitments." As we have made clear this week, AVR is committed to local programming and has not applied to reduce its local programming commitments in any market. What is true is that AVR has launched a number of stations in the last few months and is currently relying on the Toronto feed for its programming.
8416 The Commission has always understood that in the early going of any of AVR's stations, there would be a reliance on the programming from Toronto. For example, in decision CRTC 2001‑627 granting AVR's Ottawa licence, the Commission stated, "In its early years of operation, the station's programming will, in the main, originate with the proposed FM radio station licence to AVR in Toronto." This is decision CRTC 2000‑204. "The applicant's plans in this regard are similar to those it has for other AVR radio stations recently authorized by the Commission, one in Calgary and the other in Vancouver." Decision CRTC 2001‑172 and 2002‑314.
8417 Other than in Toronto, the stations have been on the air only a few months. AVR will add local components to them over time, just as envisaged in the Commission's licensing decisions. That remains AVR's commitment.
8418 In our deliberations regarding this important issue, we have come to the conclusion that it no longer makes sense to have a patch‑work quilt of varying local obligations. If we are crafting a condition of licence relating to local programming for Saskatoon and Regina, as we discussed early this week, we think it makes sense to come up with a common benchmark that can be used in each of our markets.
8419 As we alluded to in our reply earlier today, we think that a threshold should be set at 25 percent of the broadcast week which equates to 31.5 hours a week. In our view, this new condition should be stated to come into effect no later than 24 months following the date of your decision relating to the renewals.
8420 In its recent notice, the Commission alerted AVR to the fact that it had apparently not received annual returns for AVR's Toronto signal for its several periods. The Commission did receive an annual return for 2004/2005 and will be receiving one for 2005/2006 and can expect to receive one each and every year from now on. As the Commission is aware, the team before you has essentially been in place for less than two years, and the news of the missing annual returns from prior years came as a surprise when we read about it on the Commission's website. I have not been back in the office since then to investigate. I can only indicate that it would not have happened and will not happen with this team.
8421 I do not know what we can offer the Commission at this point. It would be difficult, potentially inaccurate and expensive now to go back as far as 2001 and start trying to reconstruct annual returns for you, but if you require us to do so, we would of course comply.
8422 Regarding Canadian content, finally I would like to end on a high note. AVR has a requirement to air more than 35 percent Canadian content vocal music selections. AVR is far above the threshold. Commission staff have indicated that, by their count, we are over 46 percent. As we have suggested earlier this week, that figure is far below the real number since AVR plays so many emerging Aboriginal artists that are not found in the Commission's database.
8423 Indeed, our staff at AVR believe that the figure is really more like 60 percent Canadian selections, and we have undertaken to work with staff to update the Commission's database to ensure that these wonderful new Canadian artists are included in it.
8424 I am therefore pleased to report that the bottom line for you, Chair and Members of the Commission, is that AVR is in compliance with all of its conditions of licence and will continue to be so. AVR proposes no changes to any of the conditions of licence in any of its markets, other than agreeing to the clarification suggested by Commission staff with respect to Aboriginal spoken‑word programming occurring during the broadcast day, rather than over the entire schedule, and to a new condition relating to local programming.
8425 Accordingly, AVR respectfully requests that all four of the licences be renewed from the current expiry date of March 31st, 2007 through to August 31st, 2013.
8426 I would close by saying that AVR is deeply appreciative of the support that it has received from you and we also appreciate the hard work your staff, in working through a number ‑‑ hard work of your staff in working through a number of unique situations. Your efforts and decisions have allowed us to create the first national Aboriginal radio network in the world and we thank you, not only on behalf of AVR but also on behalf of all Aboriginal people in Canada.
8427 We would be pleased to respond to any questions that you might have.
8428 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vice‑Chair Arpin.
8429 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
8430 Good afternoon, Miss and Mister. And we ‑‑ you've already covered a good number of my questions, but certainly that being said, we'll try to have some kind of a dialogue over the experience AVR has had since being, first, authorized today and look a bit forward in your plans with regard to the future as ‑‑ well, as you said, it is the first time that AVR appears before the CRTC for a renewal of its flagship and its three other stations; those in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa.
8431 In a brief way, could you give the Commission some background information on the report for ‑‑ that AVR had to put in order to first implement and launch the Toronto station and the three stations involved in the renewal? As you may understand, that ‑‑ you have had some communication with ‑‑ over the years with staff members, but for the record, the Commission doesn't know very much about what ‑‑ how difficult it was and what were the main issues and what makes you happy today that happily ‑‑ that you're up and running happily and you have ‑‑ you're on air in ‑‑ already in three markets and waiting for the FCC. And we surely will investigate the FCC thing a bit further just to have a clear picture of what ‑‑ of what's going on.
8432 MR. HENNESSY: The other evening as we were discussing the preparations for the launch ‑‑ or the application, rather, for Regina and Saskatoon, and we were talking back ‑‑ looking back on our brief history from when we got involved with AVR and what all we've been through and how it might have been extremely discouraging for a lot of people to face the type of adversity that we have come across.
8433 The two‑steps‑forward‑one‑step‑back syndrome seemed to be a common experience for us at many steps along the way, and it happened before we were involved as well. But the one thing that we came away from that discussion with was ‑‑ I think it was Jamie or Bob made the statement that none of us, given our background, our experience, our, I guess, relative success that we've had in other areas of commercial broadcasting, none of us would be at this table and none of us would be continuing to put forward an effort if we didn't really believe that we were going to win, if we didn't really believe that we were on the verge of creating something that was very unique and potentially great.
8434 So that's sort of the motivation that we all have to keep going forward because it's not easy when you don't have regular commercial cash flows, when you exert a great deal of effort to generate enthusiasm and interest in support for the station and hit a wall, hit barriers, and the anticipated money ‑‑ which, in your mind, you've already spent ‑‑ you've already built the new offices and facilities in Vancouver, and then suddenly you find that that's going to be delayed again for a while.
8435 It's ‑‑ it is a real compliment to everyone here and to the staff that we have back in Toronto, that they keep their morale up, and they have. And a lot of that comes from the belief in what we're doing and also from people associated with our efforts who encourage us to keep moving forward. And a lot of it comes from Mr. Hill, who is the eternal optimist. There is no one step back.
8436 MR. WOOD: I think I could add to that, Commissioner. We think it's tough enough to run a business when you have money, and AVR has been running on fumes for several years now. And we would not be alive today were it not for the goodwill of this Commission and we're very grateful to the Commission.
8437 This is kind of a banner day for AVR because we learned, I guess just yesterday, that the appeal with respect to the CHUM application for Calgary was denied. So that gives us an opportunity to live again another day, and we shall.
8438 And insofar as some of the difficulties we've had, when the new board came into place at AVR, there were many, many things, many files that had been mishandled, were not well organized or ignored altogether. And it's taken Mr. Hill and the board and the team that he has assembled, close to the two years that he has been on the board, to get all of that straightened out, the governance, the financial areas, assembling the right people, the team that is in place now.
8439 And the team is larger than you see before you here today. The gentleman who is helping us with our financial matters is Michael Jarvis. He is a semi‑retired former controller of Ultramar. He has brought a lot of the discipline to our financial area and helped to organize our systems, which has been very helpful to AVR.
8440 And of course we can't say enough about the help that we've received from McCarthy Tetrault, not just in preparing for the different licensing issues that have arisen, but also in terms of helping us with our governance and getting that whole area straightened out and brought up to date.
8441 We've also got support on the engineering front from Paul Furminger who used to be the vice president of engineering for MacLean Hunter which, at the time, was the large ‑‑ one of the largest broadcast companies in Canada. And when MacLean Hunter was acquired by Rogers, Mr. Furminger's position became redundant, and we have been fortunate to be able to have not only his experience and expertise, but his amazing network of contacts to help us to negotiate all of the things going on in all of the cities with respect to purchase of transmitters, setting up the sites, and all of the things that go along with establishing stations in markets across the country.
8442 We should say that the team also includes some consulting engineers, including Gord Henke and Associates, and Jim Multner(ph) and then there are some other people kind of on the peripheral who are helping in the community as well. They're all terrific people and they are very, very committed to seeing this network survive and flourish and fulfil its mission.
8443 We're also very blessed to have a terrifically competent, committed group of people on the board of directors of AVR. And starting with Mr. Hill, Mr. Hill is ‑‑ has studied economics at Harvard. He's also a very accomplished business person. He has devoted a number of years doing a turnkey operation for the Smithsonian Institution for their magazine, which is the magazine of the American Indian. It's the largest circulation magazine in the world. Between that magazine and the magazine that he also publishes, called SAGE Magazine, he is a very accomplished business person and he's very sought after in the community to sit on different boards to help operate successfully different Native enterprises. AVR is very lucky to have him.
8444 And the board that he has assembled, along with himself and Mr. Cardinal, is a blue chip group of people who are very committed and qualified in their own areas. For example, in Calgary, the board member, Russ McLeod, is a 25‑year broadcaster who is one of the few Native success stories in radio broadcasting. Russ worked in Vancouver on the air for many years and later moved to Toronto, eventually worked his way up to become the morning man of CHUM‑AM in Toronto. He's on the board of AVR.
8445 The lady in Ottawa, Claudette Commenda(ph) is a lawyer. She is the executive director of the confederacy of cultural and education centres in Canada, very committed, very knowledgeable about the issues. I could go on about the board, but I guess I'm trying to say it's certainly been a real team effort here.
8446 In terms of some of the frequency issues that we've had, the frequency that we were ‑‑ originally applied for in Vancouver was not available to us. It was awarded to the CBC. CBC effectively said that they would support us in the pursuit of a different frequency, and once they had received their licence, we ‑‑ we're hopeful of getting their support, but I think they determined that that would not be appropriate to their interests, and so we were left really without an alternative frequency in Vancouver.
8447 We then went to work with our consulting engineers and found another frequency and, unfortunately, we were unable to get approval from a mainstream broadcaster for a tiny bit of interference we would cause them in the Tsawwassen ferry area and subsequently had to pass on that frequency as well.
8448 So now we're on to the third frequency that we are now ‑‑ have had approved by both Industry Canada and the Commission and we're awaiting approval from the FCC for a frequency in Vancouver. AVR has spent in total in Vancouver, in terms of equipment and establishing its operations there, coupled with engineering fees on the search for the latest frequency, a quarter of a million dollars. If we added in the consulting costs that we have spent for Vancouver, and legal and other consulting costs, just to get us to where we are now from the beginning in Vancouver, it would be close to half a million dollars and probably more.
8449 In terms of ‑‑ I should say that on the 9th of November we're very hopeful that the FCC will weigh in with approval that we can use the frequency that we have applied for in Vancouver.
8450 In Calgary, it's one of the few markets where there are no issues. We are on the air in Calgary. We've got a beautiful C‑class signal there and we're rolling Calgary. We haven't got all the local programming on there yet, but we expect that that will come in due course.
8451 We are not yet on the air in Edmonton. We hope that that will be within the next 90 days. We've ordered a combiner actually through the CBC. They've ordered it. They're installing it. The combiner that was delivered to them did not meet specifications. It's been sent back, and they're working on it. We expect to have delivery of that within the next 60 days, at which time we'll then install the rest of the equipment.
8452 In Kitchener, the CBC withdrew its support for the transmission site that we wanted to use there, so we're now talking with CTV for a site to operate out of Kitchener.
8453 In Toronto, you may recall AVR had originally applied for two frequencies; the low‑power FM frequency that we now operate with, and CBC's 740 AM. We had hoped that we would have adequate coverage by combining the two. We were awarded only the FM frequency, not the AM, and that's okay. We've been working on finding ways to expand the Toronto FM frequency. We approached an area broadcaster for a waiver some years ago, weren't able to obtain the waiver, so we're back to them again, and a couple of other broadcasters in the region as to how we might expand that frequency. We've got some new ways and some new incentives that we think we can offer them that we are optimistic will bear fruit. So we're confident that we'll have some improvement in our Toronto signal.
8454 In Ottawa, we are up and running in Ottawa. We're operating out of a CHUM site in Ottawa with the support of the CHUM organization. We're very grateful for their help.
8455 In Montreal, we're operating at low power. We're still attempting to establish a site from which to broadcast at full power. The site that we're on at low power is the Saqua(ph) site, but there's apparently code 6 issues there that won't permit us to go to full power. So as soon as we conclude the negotiations we're engaged in right now with the site that will permit us to go to full power, we will be at full power in Vancouver.
8456 So it ‑‑ kind of every day it's a new day and it's new problems, but we're all very, very confident that we have a strong team here that will enable us to grow this into a tremendously useful tool for ‑‑ not just for Aboriginal people, but for Canada.
8457 And we've never spoken about the larger or the longer‑term view, and I'll just take another few seconds here to say to you that once the network is operating in all of the markets in which it hopes to operate ‑‑ and certainly we'd be more than happy with approximately ten of those markets, but there may be one or two others that we can add on later when we have the finances, such as Thunder Bay where the Aboriginal population is fairly high.
8458 But in terms of AVR's corporate development plan, Phase 1 was to implement the network service. Phase 2 was to launch the Toronto station. Phase 3 was to introduce our existing stations. Phase 4 was to complete the expansion across Canada. Phase 5 was to establish news correspondents in our different markets across Canada. Phase 6 is to launch a second network feed in French. It wouldn't be identical, but it would certainly would be a feed that would provide for news and music programming 24 hours a day that would be available to existing stations in Canada that wanted to pick up that service in French. And Phase 8 is to provide separate feeds for news and spoken‑word programs in a variety of Aboriginal languages.
8459 And one of the great promises, we think, of AVR is not just these developments and the utility that they will represent for Aboriginal people and the awareness‑building programming that we'll provide, but we've made it clear throughout to different people in the community, and certainly it's the commitment of the board, that AVR at some point in its evolution will have very high quality programming that will be available to all broadcasters across Canada at no charge.
8460 And as you will be aware, there are about 650 reserves in Canada and, of that 650, 200 of them have no radio service whatsoever. The other 400 or so are served by the regional networks or their own independent station. AVR is intending to make its service available to those communities at no charge.
8461 And we're currently working on two initiatives that would enable us to help them establish low‑cost, what we call, suitcase radio stations in each of their communities so that when they're into the system, coupled with all of the regional stations that are in the system, then they can plug into AVR for any portion of its programming. If they want to downlink the hourly national news, they can do so. If they want to downlink the national telephone talk show, they can do so. They can pick up any aspect of AVR's programming.
8462 Many of them are volunteer organized radio stations where they operate for sometimes only eight hour a day. If they wish to extend their programming to 24 hours, or to weekends, again they can do so, simply by downlinking AVR.
8463 So what we're all working on here today, kind of in partnership with you, is something that's far bigger than just another licence or extending this network. This has ramifications far beyond what we're talking about here. Mr. Hill could tell you about some of the archiving things with elders and languages, and so on, that we plan to do on the website going forward so that we think that the mission of AVR, which is to help improve the lives of Aboriginal people, is something that we will not only be doing, but we'll be delivering in a multitude of ways so that, at the end of the day, while there have been many problems and many financing issues ‑‑ and we could go on at length about those ‑‑ we are nevertheless confident that Mr. Hill, and the team that he has assembled, is equal to the task and that we will deliver on the service that we have proposed to you, and across Canada, and that your, I guess, confidence in the ‑‑ in us is justified and that we will meet our requirements.
8464 MR. HENNESSY: Well ‑‑
8465 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Okay. Thank you for that lengthy ‑‑ that introduction, but it put everything into context and it's well appreciated. Do you want to add something, Mr. Hennessy?
8466 MR. HENNESSY: I was just going to mention when Mr. Wood made reference to the French language service, we also are aware that there's ‑‑ not a conflict, but there's a difference between the demographics of the Aboriginal community in urban areas and the tremendous increase in the birth rate in Aboriginals is resulting in a younger population. And we're also aware of the demographics of a radio station that is full service and that is heavily committed to news and information, and those two seem to digress because increase the talk, decrease the young audience is the result.
8467 So what I'm ‑‑ which is not to mean that we don't play the music that the younger Aboriginals are interested in, but we day‑part it and do not give a consistent 24‑hour‑a‑day service with some of the areas like hip hop and R & B. They're featured evenings and weekends.
8468 That ‑‑ but the concept is to create another stream, another Aboriginal radio with younger hosts, and younger announcers and music aimed at that younger demographic, which would probably be served by streaming over the Internet. Again, it's an extension like was mentioned with the French language, all originating from this resource that we are building today.
8469 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Thank you.
8470 At ‑‑ when you appeared on Wednesday, Mr. Cardinal mentioned that Ron Hennessy ‑‑ and you had it in your text today ‑‑ had joined the board of directors of AVR. When did he join the board?
8471 MR. HILL: Vice‑Chair, Ron Ignace? That's your question?
8472 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Yes.
8473 MR. HILL: That was recent. It was the last board meeting we held ‑‑ I don't know the exact date, but my sense is that it was about a month and a half ago.
8474 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Okay, that's sufficed. I'm not looking for a specific date, but I ‑‑ because I was going over our own record, and our own record shows that you have nine directors, and obviously Mr. Ignace's name was not ‑‑ is not on that list. Is it an add‑on to your ‑‑ to the board or is it a replacement for somebody?
8475 MR. HILL: Yes, he was a replacement for one of the board members that left. Jennifer Podemski left the board. So I think that we should probably ensure that you have updated information, and my apologies for that, but it was quite recent, and we'll make sure that you have an updated list of who the board is.
8476 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And could you tell us how these board members are selected? Are they co‑opted or are they ‑‑ or is it what ‑‑ how do you say this? You don't have shareholders? You ‑‑ so how do you ‑‑ how does it happens that one day Jim Hill became board member of AVR and eventually even appointed as a ‑‑ as the president of the organization?
8477 MR. HILL: Well, it turns out I was a replacement as well for another board member that had left. Board members are normally elected at the annual general meeting by the community members whose job it is, in our bylaws, to elect the board. And right now we have 25 Aboriginal community members spread across the country, and that's their job, to elect the board.
8478 Now, if someone leaves the board, then someone comes in on an interim basis and then they are up for election at the next AGM, and the term of the board members is three years.
8479 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And they could be renewed?
8480 MR. HILL: Pardon me? Yes, they could be renewed.
8481 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: They could ‑‑
8482 MR. HILL: Yes.
8483 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: ‑‑ they could be. And those 25 communities, what's their makeup? They're representing various bands or various ‑‑
8484 MR. HILL: Well, yes. I mean it's a very diverse group.
8485 Some of them are ‑‑ for instance, before Mr. Ignace joined the board, he was a community member and he's a former chief of his First Nation. There are ‑‑ many of them are urban Aboriginal people. I mean, it spans the diversity of the Aboriginal experience which is there are people who grow up in cities and spend their life in the city, and I guess this is part of the Aboriginal experience. The connection with the original First Nations or Metis community where maybe they're ancestrally originated from has, I guess, diminished in ‑‑ relative to other people in the city who grew up on the reserve and have migrated to the city.
8486 So it's ‑‑ it runs the gamut. We do have members who speak ‑‑ are fluent in their Native language and they, I guess, practice, you know, their traditional spiritual beliefs that have come down through the generations. And we have members who, you know, maybe are Christian in their belief. You know, we have members who are, I guess, professional Aboriginal people, you know, working in an urban environment and we have members who, I would call them elders. So, you know, it's a wide range of people representative of the communities, is how we look at it, and then their job is to elect directors who, you know, are going to do a good job in ensuring that AVR delivers on its mission.
8487 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And who then elects the president of the organization?
8488 MR. HILL: The president is elected on a yearly basis by the board of directors after the AGM after the first ‑‑
8489 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: At the first ‑‑
8490 MR. HILL: ‑‑ at the first ‑‑
8491 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: So does that ‑‑
8492 MR. HILL: ‑‑ board of directors meeting after the AGM.
8493 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And that's also the mandate of the ‑‑ the way the vice president is also ‑‑
8494 MR. HILL: Yes, all the ‑‑
8495 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: ‑‑ nominated?
8496 MR. HILL: ‑‑ all the officers are elected that ‑‑
8497 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: All the officers are ‑‑
8498 MR. HILL: Yeah.
8499 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: ‑‑ are nominated after the AGM by ‑‑
8500 MR. HILL: Yes.
8501 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: ‑‑ by the new board?
8502 MR. HILL: By the new board, yes.
8503 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And is it ‑‑ Mr. Ignace is replacing Miss Podemski, but do you have an automatic replacement mechanism or it could be ‑‑
8504 MR. HILL: Well, I think the way we've done it so far is tried to identify suitable directors. You know, we ask through the entire AVR organization, all the personnel, you know, if we lose a member potentially, you know, who out there would be suitable, you know, and would ‑‑ and we feel would do a good job and then we try to assess those ‑‑ assess them and, you know, then it goes to an election.
8505 Now, on an interim basis the board of directors appoints the interim director until you get to the AGM.
8506 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Okay. Well, thank you very much for the information and at least from ‑‑
8507 MR. WOOD: Oh, Commissioner, if I might just add to that that the members of the board ‑‑ the board has also been very sensitive about it ensuring regional representation, so there is a director from British Columbia, one from Calgary, one from Edmonton, a couple from Ontario and a couple from Quebec. If the Commission chooses to grant AVR a licence for Saskatoon and Regina, then at the first opportunity, Mr. Hill has said that AVR would attempt to add to the board a member from Saskatchewan.
8508 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Okay. Well, thank you.
8509 At our request, you have provided the Commission on a confidential basis your expected procurement of fundings that derive from the existing CTD commitments for a new licence, and we thank you for the interest.
8510 You've also, during your ‑‑ an earlier presentation, and particularly the one for Regina, alluded to government grants. Among them was the Ontario Trillium Fund.
8511 To your knowledge, are there other source of public and private financing? And, if yes, are you currently working and finding long‑term commitment for their ‑‑ from these sources?
8512 MR. WOOD: Yes, we will ‑‑ are working on that. Actually in the last four or five months, we've certainly been focused on getting the stations on the air and preparing for this hearing but, starting on Monday morning, that will be a full‑time focus to move that along.
8513 We have met with ‑‑ recently with the Minister of Heritage who has indicated that there are different categories where we would qualify for funding and that she would assist us in the pursuit of that funding, and we intend to follow up on that.
8514 Secondly, we are currently working on an application for funding from Aboriginal Business Canada. They have a category that provides for capital expenditures to expand into other markets, so we've met with some of their officials and we're expecting that that application will be filed within the next three to four weeks, and we would have an answer on that early in the new year.
8515 And there is, ongoing, different parts of the country, for example in British Columbia, the British Columbia government recently announced, I think it's, a $200 million fund to help advance Aboriginal peoples interests in the province. And we have a director in British Columbia, Mr. Ignace and someone else, who have a good awareness of how to access the funding for that money, and we intend to pursue that as well.
8516 I think the chairman mentioned at this hearing the Peace Hills Trust Fund. We did speak to Peace Hills a few years ago, but we really weren't in a position at that point to qualify under their terms. We believe we are now and we'll be accessing that if we can. So, yes, we will have a full-court press going forward to pursue other funding.
8517 We also have a couple of other, what we would call, creative approaches to the financing of AVR almost in perpetuity that we are working on. They involve very sensitive negotiations. We can't go into detail on that right now, but we're very confident that, in the not too distant future, we will be in a position to say to you we are now able to finance all of the requirements of this network to complete its expansion and to fulfil our programming mandate.
8518 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Thank you.
8519 And we will remain on the revenue side of the ledger for my next question and we'll deal about sale ‑‑ advertising sales and sponsorship. I know that you've addressed the issue during the ‑‑ an earlier appearance, but are you working with ‑‑ do you have a sales team or is it farmed out?
8520 MR. HENNESSY: We do not have a sales team in the sense of the traditional radio station. We have advertising agencies and some experienced radio sales ‑‑ they're actually consultants in a couple of areas ‑‑ in Vancouver, Calgary and one who's located in Windsor, and they're working with us on developing the sponsorship package. And the last conference call we had was ‑‑ it would be about three weeks to a month ago, I guess, prior to focusing on preparing for our appearance here, and what we were doing is comparing ‑‑ we're building lists of trade associations, industry associations and Canadian corporations that have a need to reach the Aboriginal population, or a desire to reach them with a message about their organization. And that's everything from Shell Oil wanting to inform the Aboriginal community, and those who listen to the station because they share a philosophy of the Aboriginal people, that Shell is doing its part in the oil sands, for example, recovering and refurbishing the soil after they've extracted the oil.
8521 There's those types of areas and programs that we can help them reach the community. We can also help them in the area of employment, which would be of particular interest to the Alberta market where it's very, very difficult to find skilled or unskilled labours. So being able to point out career opportunities, whether it's trades or educational opportunities through our programming into the Aboriginal communities, will have a two ‑‑ a double‑edged effect of helping address the problem and also helping address the unemployment and educational problems on reserves.
8522 So there's a number of those categories and groups that we have been building into ‑‑ call it our target list, and if we're going to target on the forest industry, we have our associate, Michael Morgan in Vancouver, who has done work with Aboriginal groups. He's a former broadcaster in ‑‑ has his own ‑‑ or had his own advertising agency and he has made preliminary approaches to representatives of the forest industry, the forestry unions, and we're organizing a target list so that we can go after that segment on a ‑‑ both a national and regional scope and, from there, start generating the programming they're interested in sponsoring that also relates to the interests of the audience.
8523 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: The ‑‑ now, if we speak about expenses, the biggest expense will be obviously employees and ‑‑ now, how many employees do you have now?
8524 MR. HENNESSY: Do we have now?
8525 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Yes.
8526 MR. HENNESSY: Well, one of the things when I got involved with ‑‑ because, with AVR, Mr. Hill is very fiscally responsible, and minimizing costs and taking use of ‑‑ or advantage of technology was a high priority. And we did serious trimming, not something that we were happy to do, but something that was necessary.
8527 We use Aboriginal talent on air and off air wherever possible. We use freelance contract suppliers. We have ‑‑ the national voice of the network is a ‑‑ is an Aboriginal and was a high‑profile announcer in Toronto at one time and worked at other stations in Canada, and he does a ‑‑ all of our ‑‑ the promotion voicing, that type of thing. But we have another announcer who lives in Orillia and does voice‑tracking for us from there. So these contracts ‑‑ if I include the freelance contract plus the staff that we have on site, I think we are probably breaking ten.
8528 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Altogether? Including ‑‑
8529 MR. HENNESSY: Yes.
8530 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: ‑‑ including management, traffic, accounting?
8531 MR. HENNESSY: The old joke about a staff meeting in the phone booth rings true.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
8532 MR. HENNESSY: Now, we have a ‑‑ when I say ten, I mean there are others that ‑‑ we have syndicating programming that is supplied to us at no charge. There's a health show that we pick up that is ‑‑ comes from AIROS. It's American Indian Radio on satellite. It's actually funded in New Mexico and created in Alaska, I believe, and deals with health issues specific, or of major importance, to all Aboriginals in North America. We'll pay for that show and, you know, certainly there's a team that puts that together that we're not responsible for.
8533 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Obviously they are not your employees.
8534 MR. HENNESSY: But our goal, when we put together our business plan for the network when it is up to speed and fully financed, we are talking in the area of 40 to 45 employees.
8535 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Altogether, that ‑‑ when you're ‑‑
8536 MR. HENNESSY: In that ‑‑ it's at the Toronto production centre and in the administration, the management side, and then of course there will be the satellite pods of staffs in each of the communities, and those will be approximately five people in each community in the initial few years. Hopefully we can build that to larger as well.
8537 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: The ‑‑ now, if we start talking about current programming, as I said earlier, I did check your website and ‑‑ to have a descriptor of your programming, and also you provided us with a list of other content. But in looking at it, I note that you have a call‑in show called Native America Calling that is run on 30 stations. That ‑‑ that's an American program or is it done out of Toronto for all of North America or is it the other way around?
8538 MS MOUSSEAU: It actually originates on the AIROS network that Mr. Hennessy was talking about earlier, but the content itself comes from both U.S. and Canada. They have quite a few of callers from Toronto and across Canada ‑‑
8539 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Because they have ‑‑
8540 MS MOUSSEAU: ‑‑ on the air.
8541 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: They ‑‑
8542 MS MOUSSEAU: I've been on ‑‑ I've been ‑‑ actually done the talk show myself as well, so it's shared.
8543 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Oh, it's shared, so they are components of the programs that are, well, uncertain because I say ‑‑ it's every ‑‑ it's on every day of the week, so there's something ‑‑ some days that it's done out of Toronto and other days it's done out ‑‑
8544 MS MOUSSEAU: No, it's always done out of the U.S., but content and callers and guests come from ‑‑
8545 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Other ‑‑
8546 MS MOUSSEAU: ‑‑ Canada.
8547 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Okay. And they are providing the audience with an 800 number so that the callers will get to them?
8548 MS MOUSSEAU: Yes, they do.
8549 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: They do.
8550 MR. HENNESSY: Again, it's the ‑‑ our plan, as we've discussed over the last week, is to have a two‑hour national Canadian Aboriginal talk show. In the meantime, we want to give access for the exchange of opinions and ideas in the most inexpensive way we can, and free is the best we've found so far.
8551 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: If I'm taking your program grid, at least the one that I've got through the Internet, could you tell me which one are syndicated program?
8552 MS MOUSSEAU: Unfortunately the schedule you have is of course out of date, but I can tell you what some of the programmings ‑‑ programs are that are syndicated. We have the Native American Calling that we were just speaking about.
8553 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Yes.
8554 MS MOUSSEAU: We have American Indian Living, and that is the health show what Mr. Hennessy was talking about. Originally AVR in fact did produce our own health show. I was the host of that, as well as we had an Aboriginal doctor here in ‑‑ or sorry, there in Toronto, that took part in that. Unfortunately he became unavailable, so because health, of course, is such an important issue, we went to AIROS. They have a national network in the U.S. It's not really a network. It's a satellite feed but ‑‑ asked them if they had something available, and that's why we're using American Indian Living at this time for our health programming.
8555 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And those are the two syndicated programs that you have currently on your grid?
8556 MS MOUSSEAU: Yes. The only other one would maybe be considered syndicated would be the Metis Show. It is generated from here in ‑‑ from in Toronto by someone who works for AVR, but we also offer it for free to Metis FM, which is an Internet based radio station.
8557 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: But it ‑‑ that's ‑‑ but that's not produced by AVR but produced by someone who is a contributor, a regular contributor to AVR?
8558 MS MOUSSEAU: That's correct. He provides programming for us once a week for free.
8559 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: From ‑‑ in your original plan, you were planning to have programming also to cater to the Natives that were coming from Spanish country ‑‑ or Latin country. Not Spanish, but Latin country and have programming in Spanish. Have you done so?
8560 MR. HENNESSY: It's part of the music content of ‑‑ in particular in the afternoon program going global, there's a large segment of music from South America, Latin America that addresses the Spanish community. We are not doing any Spanish language programming at this point in time. Again, those are our options when we expand our vision to the indigenous world, that we can look at in the future.
8561 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And that program is daily and has a duration of four hours?
8562 MS MOUSSEAU: Yes.
8563 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: You're quite busy because I ‑‑
8564 MS MOUSSEAU: I'm the host of that as well, yes.
8565 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: On top of being here today and now ‑‑ and I see your name coming quite often on the program schedules so I think you're surely quite busy.
8566 MS MOUSSEAU: Yes. Yes, I am.
8567 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: The ‑‑ in all the other programs that you are ‑‑ for which we have a descriptor, AVR Art Review, Red Tales, Earthsongs, At Issue, Women's Round Table, Wisdom of the Elders, and Heartbeat, UnderCurrents, All Request Show, Show in the Morning are done via ‑‑ in Toronto ‑‑ or produced in Toronto out of your facility?
8568 MR. HENNESSY: Yes.
8569 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: The ‑‑
8570 THE CHAIRPERSON: Put your mic on.
8571 MR. HENNESSY: I'm sorry. Yes.
8572 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Okay, yeah. The ‑‑ are some of the ‑‑ or another thing on your program grid, that some of the titles are sometimes repeated, it is the same ‑‑ I'm taking Heartbeat as an example on Saturday and Sunday, and also on some weekdays, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Is it ‑‑ are they a repeat of the same program or is ‑‑ are they unique original shows or is it ‑‑ there's one original and it's repeated four times during the week?
8573 MR. HENNESSY: Usually they're original content on each program. The title just indicates the theme for the program.
8574 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Well ‑‑
8575 MR. HENNESSY: Other ‑‑ for instance, the weekly art review, we do repeat that program.
8576 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: While you appear for Regina and Saskatoon, we ‑‑ you spoke about AVR weekend. I note that on your program grid for Toronto you have AVR show in the morning and AVR weekend. Are the AVR weekends compilation or repeats of the show of the morning or are they totally original programs?
8577 MS MOUSSEAU: Some of it has elements of important or very funny bits that happen during the week, but generally it is unique on the weekends as well.
8578 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Okay. And you are also still broadcasting in French, 11 p.m. to ‑‑ from 11 p.m. to midnight on Sunday?
8579 MS MOUSSEAU: Yes, we are and we are in fact broadcasting our French language program on Monday at 10 p.m. as well, until 11 p.m.
8580 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And you have a French‑speaking host?
8581 MS MOUSSEAU: Not really at the moment we don't. We're just running the music, so we're looking ‑‑ we're actually looking at someone right now who not only can speak French but can also speak Cree and English, so it could really help ‑‑
8582 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: So it could ‑‑
8583 MS MOUSSEAU: ‑‑ flush that program ‑‑
8584 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: ‑‑ it could do something else.
8585 MR. HENNESSY: One of these ‑‑
8586 MS MOUSSEAU: We could use him on many of our programs.
8587 MR. HENNESSY: As you said, you see Patrice showing up on the schedule a lot. When I said ten, I didn't count her five times, but that's ‑‑ certainly could be done. A couple of months ago, as we started in anticipation of the sign‑ons in our leading up to putting out the news stringers and developing the programming, we ran an ad looking for talent in broadcast dialogue and received ‑‑ it was interesting the pattern of response that we received.
8588 We did have several calls from Montreal and people in Montreal excited about the idea that the station ‑‑ "Where is it? I can't hear it." Stand by, you know. And the fact that we were thinking of doing programming in French and creating a French component and that they are ‑‑ there's certainly an interest there and there are some Aboriginal talent broadcasters who expressed an interest. Same in Ottawa. Vancouver was ‑‑ there was a tremendous response there. They basically wanted ‑‑ maybe they should do the ‑‑ half of the station anyway.
8589 So we're going to have an interesting time when we begin to put together the network as we perceive it because, in our discussions, we really do talk about having the afternoon show originate with a Vancouver announcer and bringing part of that West Coast perspective and maybe it's mid‑day's ‑‑ when the talk show ends, maybe the mid‑day's originates from the prairies. Maybe we move it to different cities in different weeks. We have that flexibility with the technology that we're employing and certainly the interest for ‑‑ from the Aboriginal applicants tells us that we will be able to do that in all the cities that we're going to.
8590 MR. HILL: Mr. Vice‑Chair, if I could add a couple of comments to, I guess, the general line of questioning? One thing, I think, that distinguishes AVR is it is a non‑profit and, therefore, I know the conventional model regarding programming is to, you know, optimize the programming so that there is a surplus at the end as far as what the financial situation is, you know, which would be earnings.
8591 AVR, because we are non‑profit, we don't really have earnings, so what we would do is we would utilize the revenues that we're able to build, you know, and focus ‑‑ we would focus them on programming to the greatest extent possible once we're able to put the infrastructure in place to be able to broadcast in all the cities.
8592 So the quality of the programming and the type of programming that we do is dependent upon your financial success as we move forward and try to build a national radio service financially, and that's the challenge that precedes getting the cities on the air ‑‑ that precedes getting cities on the air and developing programming. So we do aspire to ‑‑ for instance, we have, you know, some American content. We do aspire to have, you know, almost all Canadian content.
8593 Now, the Aboriginal people do, you know, look south of the border because the border, you know, goes up the middle of some traditional Aboriginal communities or ‑‑ and large territories, so there is, I guess, an affinity to ‑‑ as far as relationships south of the border with Aboriginal people.
8594 And, you know, just historically, we're aware of our history of ‑‑ as ‑‑ you've probably heard the term "Turtle Island". It is the Americas, and there are relationship that, you know, go back generations across the Americas, so this is the type of thing you'll see in the programming that we do. We do support the type of programming where we are getting into some of the Latin world because there are Aboriginal people there.
8595 But I would say I think we're doing a great job as far as the programming, but we do have aspirations to approve that and to ‑‑ we've actually talked about different eras that we want to go through as far as our programming. We have talked about ultimately where we want to be, financing permitted, because we have this idea of the premium Aboriginal service. And it's a little different than what we're seeing right now because the programming is dependent upon the financial wherewithal of AVR but, you know, we're working very hard to build the situation financially so that we can continue to improve the programming.
8596 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Thank you.
8597 I had a long list of question on compliance but I appreciate the ‑‑ your introductory remark and the answer that you gave on all the issues of logger tape, annual return, spoken word, music and everything.
8598 So flipping the page quickly ‑‑
8599 But I will have ‑‑ you've already talked about it, but I'm keeping the last question that I had, which was ‑‑ is can you assure us today that your station, Toronto station is in full compliance with all the existing conditions of licence?
8600 MR. HILL: We are in full compliance. That's what we're all aware of. We've talked about it, and I have to tell you that the team are committed to ensure that we are in full compliance going forward into the future. And, of course, as the CEO of Aboriginal Voices Radio, I have to give my personal commitment that I will endeavour to ensure that we remain in compliance with all of your regulations.
8601 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: I'll now talk about the usage of Aboriginal language, and there are the existing conditions of licence, but I know that there has been correspondence between staff and AVR regarding the minimum requirement for spoken language. I note that you're ‑‑ in the letters that you've ‑‑ you say that you've consulted with Mr. Ignace ‑‑ Ignace?
8602 MR. HILL: Ignace.
8603 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Ignace. Obviously in ‑‑ French say Ignace, but I'm sure he's not French.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
8604 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Ignace. So I have to ‑‑
8605 MR. HILL: And he's fluent in his Aboriginal language, and I'm sure there's another version.
8606 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Exactly, I'm sure. Like this morning, we had Mr. Prokopie that she had problems with, but my psychologist's name Prokop(ph) and ‑‑ but he ‑‑ and he was Polish. This guy ‑‑ this gentleman was an Aboriginal, but you only add a "hi" to Prokop, so she ‑‑ there was relationship between the Polish and the Aboriginal. So she always had problems with his name. It was ‑‑ obviously had dealt with him for some time.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
8607 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: I know that there was a discussion about minimal requirement regarding the usage of various Aboriginal language, have perused through the report that Mr. Ignace ‑‑ Ignace produced on Aboriginal languages and cultures in ‑‑ it was titled, "Towards a New Beginning" that was done ‑‑ completed in June 2005 in which he is surely making strong recommendation to the language speaker to use more and more Aboriginal language.
8608 Now, I know that in the replies that you gave to staff, you suggested that you want to maintain English as the basic communication language because there are obviously too many languages and dialects and you're trying to serve the whole Aboriginal community rather than a specific group. But could you, for the benefit of the Commission, explain why you think English is key to your group?
8609 MR. HILL: Well, let me start by saying, you know, we tend to go through a sequence of priorities as we manage as a team. Maybe our ‑‑ and I have to say that the Aboriginal language issue hadn't really risen to the forefront in light of the other things that we were trying to work through and solve. And, you know, this spirit of vigorous debate on ‑‑ is because we're ‑‑ we tend to think we're going to be successful and we have to think about what we're going to do in the future and, you know, what is the best thing to do, you know, over a number of years on the issue.
8610 So we got into a debate about the Aboriginal languages, and there was a, you know, very good argument made that in order to preserve and protect and promote Aboriginal language, this involved people who don't speak their language, so they have to be, I guess, convinced of the merits of this debate. I see this debate in my own community of Six Nations when emersion schools came in, there was a very passionate debate that went on and whether or not there should be emersion schools or not and, you know, what is the value of Aboriginal language because ‑‑ just to give you an example, some people think, well, you know, people have to get a job and support themselves, and is that really going to help?
8611 But yet, there's other research that says people who know a second language tend to do better in school. So, you know, this debate ensued. And the debate about what our approach should be ensued as well, and we had ‑‑ you know, there's compelling arguments of different ways to do this, so we had ‑‑ we were coming to the conclusion with the level of programming that we have that maybe the best way to do this was to ensure that we have programming, spoken‑word programming, that specifically speaks of not only the merits of Aboriginal languages, but how do you ‑‑ how you go about what are the practices for ensuring that these languages are protected?
8612 And we continued to debate beyond, you know, the time frame of the submission that you had received on that. And we've come to the conclusion, you know, after fully ‑‑ having a full dialogue on the issue that the best thing we can do is to continue with our 2 percent commitment and, on top of that, to have English language programming which does serve to protect and preserve and promote the Aboriginal language. So we decided to do both, so that, I guess, is the answer, that we ‑‑ we're going to have programming that is in Aboriginal language as a condition of the licence of 2 percent and, on top of that, we are going to continue with what we had proposed as far as English language. We're going to do both.
8613 MR. HENNESSY: There's also the French vocal component in our music ‑‑ pardon me, not French ‑‑ the Aboriginal vocal component in our music, and it is there but there is a limited number of it ‑‑ a limited amount of it being produced because young musicians who are trying to develop their career and generate sales and concert tours, everything else, they know the language of their comers is English.
8614 So most of the recordings ‑‑ even though it deals with the stories of Aboriginal life, the vision of the world through Aboriginal eyes, they still use the English language to communicate that story. So the majority of the recordings we receive are in English, but we do receive some in Aboriginal. And we think this could be a self‑fulfilling prophecy by producing a vehicle that will provide exposure and encouraging these artists to record.
8615 Patrice, that song that you were talking about yesterday? There's only two people in the world ‑‑
8616 MS MOUSSEAU: Actually there's only one. We were talking ‑‑ we mentioned yesterday, talking about Aboriginal music sung in an Aboriginal language and I was talking about this one song that we have is called Ossnilshetan(ph) and the woman who sings it was taught the song by the mother of a director she worked with. She is the only living person left that actually speaks this language, so she recorded this song, and it's absolutely beautiful.
8617 And we play it on AVR all the time, and this is an opportunity for people to hear the language and hear it musically, so it's ‑‑ I'm hoping we'll maybe start to encourage people from that particular community to be interested in picking up their language. But again, there was only one person left that speaks that language.
8618 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Your introduction, Mr. Hennessy, was leading me to my next question because you have been saying that you have somewhere around 7,000 selections of Aboriginal produced material. What percentage of them are in Aboriginal language?
8619 MR. HENNESSY: Yeah, there's approximately 7,500 Aboriginal Canadian selections in our ‑‑ or Canadian Aboriginal selections in our library.
8620 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Yeah.
8621 MR. HENNESSY: And ‑‑ about 200?
8622 MS MOUSSEAU: 200, yes.
8623 MR. HENNESSY: Something in the area of 200 of that 7,000 are actually in an Aboriginal language, so you can see it's a limited ‑‑ and we are trying to encourage and locate more, and anytime that we're talking to Aboriginal tour promoters, recording studios, anything like that at all, when we can identify a song that is in that language, we want it and we'll give it exposure.
8624 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: I don't know if you've been looking at it and trying to understand the phenomenon, but I know that ‑‑ well, cash in, but there's not producing anything more left, but Florian Voila and Tiema(ph) are singing in new or ‑‑ and quite successfully makes the airwaves throughout Quebec.
8625 Why in English Canada a similar phenomenon has not been tried?
8626 MS MOUSSEAU: Those are artists we play all the time. I think we've talked about this Fortama(ph) is one of my favourite artists, and I love the fact that they're incorporating not only their own language, but English and French into these songs and they're doing it so beautifully. And that's the thing is we want to have those songs played across a national network, so other musicians can go, "You know what? I can do this and I can do this not only in English, but in my own language." And incorporating the traditional aspects of the language and the harmonies and the rhythms with something contemporary and become commercially successful and get their music played on a national network.
8627 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Now, other than having a music library, are you in contact with those who are recording artists? So are you enticing them to produce more sound recordings in their own language?
8628 MS MOUSSEAU: All the time.
8629 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: All the time?
8630 MS MOUSSEAU: Yeah.
8631 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: See, I knew you were very busy.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
8632 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: The ‑‑ it's my understanding that you're accepting to maintain the two condition of licence, that pertaining to the 2 percent of your vocal music selection be in a ‑‑ in the Aboriginal language and 2 percent of all your programming in each broadcast week be of the Aboriginal language?
8633 MR. HENNESSY: That's correct.
8634 MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, with that slight modification that staff picked up during the deficiency process.
8635 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Yes, absolutely.
8636 MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.
8637 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: I remember. We ‑‑ and that is part of your oral presentation?
8638 MR. BUCHANAN: That's right.
8639 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Exactly. Okay, agree. Now, could we deal about local ‑‑
8640 MS BENNETT: Sorry, just before we move on, it might be a good time to just clarify that because the staff proposal was that it would be 2 percent of the programming in the broadcast week, not over the broadcast day. So I know your presentation says over the broadcast day and I just wanted to clarity what your intention was because I don't think staff's proposal was that it had to be over the broadcast day.
8641 MR. BUCHANAN: It should say during the broadcast week. It should sink up to the ‑‑ it seemed anomalous that if those words were missing from one, and they were in the other, so we want the two to be parallel.
8642 MS BENNETT: Okay. And just to be perfectly clear, it was the addition of the spoken‑word element. So the existing COL says 2 percent of all programming ‑‑
8643 MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.
8644 MS BENNETT: And the staff proposal was 2 percent of all programming be spoken‑word programming in an Aboriginal language?
8645 MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.
8646 MS BENNETT: Yeah.
8647 MR. BUCHANAN: Well, there already is the one about the 2 percent of music being in the Aboriginal language.
8648 MS BENNETT: Right.
8649 MR. BUCHANAN: Correct.
8650 MS BENNETT: So I just wanted to be clear. Okay.
8651 MR. BUCHANAN: That's correct.
8652 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Thank you.
8653 Mr. Wood, do you want to ‑‑ or I know that you've been looking for the microphone, but there's only two ‑‑ three that will be open at the same time, so we were ‑‑ there were three microphones open, so that's why I saw that. Do you want to say something?
8654 MR. WOOD: I was just alarmed here that the microphone I was using wasn't ‑‑ didn't appear to be working and, in case the boss told me I should say something, I wanted to be ready. So I've now got another microphone here.
8655 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: Okay, fine. Thank you.
8656 Spoken word, we have a lengthy process of reviewing the quota of a ‑‑ the condition of licence on spoken word, the way it was structured. I think from the Commission's own perspective, we surely came to the conclusion that it was very hard to monitor the condition as it was in the ‑‑ as a condition of licence as it was put in the actual Toronto and all your other decisions. So we have been contemplating another approach for a spoken‑word requirement, an approach based on the regulation as ‑‑ and the definition of it. The ‑‑ have you contemplated something by yourself or you're leaving it really to us to find out a way to make sure that there is a minimum spoken word or spoken‑word commitment? I know that we had a long discussion with all the commercial broadcasters that appeared this week. You were very often in the room, so you hear us talking about news and other types of news, sports and surveillance and other type of spoken words, some that we call ‑‑ qualify as being ‑‑ we have been using the word "script", spoken word but to think ‑‑ to talk about more spoken ‑‑ structured spoken word, rather than banter and ‑‑ or ‑‑
8657 MR. WOOD: Commissioner, we'd actually like to live up to the 25 percent spoken‑word requirement simply by following what the regulation says. And the way that we would do that is the old way, when the FM regulations were much more prominent and broadcasters calculated the amount of spoken word in a block program. They subtracted the amount of commercials that were aired in that program. They subtracted any jingles or station announcements in that program, and so in a 60‑minute hour, they might have 55 minutes that would qualify for spoken word. Then in the rest of their programming, for example during a music program hosted by an announcer, if the announcer at the end of a music selection, does a minute or a minute and a half of comment and then introduces the next song, the portion of that segment which is not related to station identification or a live commercial, would qualify as spoken word. That's the way that they used to calculate it according to the regulation. We would be very comfortable with that.
8658 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: We're trying to find out a more simplistic way to ‑‑ because we learned through the process with that by ‑‑ with our own staff only to monitor one day takes seven days and obviously it takes a month and a half to monitor a week and ‑‑ of programming and ‑‑
8659 MR. WOOD: And we could definitely simplify that by suggesting that the 25 percent commitment averages about 31 and a half hours per week, and that in our commitment ‑‑ we would be meeting that commitment largely through clear cut, block programs and through newscasts which are very clear and easy to calculate. So we would get very close to the requirement through those vehicles, and then if we still weren't at the full 25 percent, then we would fall back on the ad lib comments and informed comments and opinion from the announcers.
8660 And so we think that we would be close to the commitment through the block programming, and any shortfall would come ‑‑
8661 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: So ‑‑
8662 MR. WOOD: ‑‑ from the other.
8663 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: ‑‑ so what you're saying to me ‑‑ to the Commission is that if we were to come up with 31.5 hours of spoken ‑‑ block programming, spoken word as a condition of licence, it's ‑‑ it would be acceptable to you?
8664 MR. WOOD: Well, we're expecting that the 25 percent spoken word would qualify for both the block programming and the other, but we're simply saying that we will meet most of it through the block programming. But if you're saying that the input from the announcers would not qualify, then the 25 percent would be a very large commitment for us. We would emphasize the 25 percent spoken‑word commitment in itself is a very high commitment. We're quite prepared to meet that and we're happy to meet it, but if you say that it would only apply to block programs, that would be a significant additional burden on AVR.
8665 MR. HENNESSY: It's not only a significant amount of time involved, it's also the most expensive type of content to create for radio is entertaining and compelling spoken word. So that's one of the challenges that we're facing, trying to fulfil our obligations and our dreams.
8666 VICE‑CHAIR ARPIN: And if ‑‑