ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 26 — December 19, 2012

Registration

SI/2012-101 December 19, 2012

BROADCASTING ACT

Order Declining to Refer Back to the CRTC Decision CRTC 2012-485

P.C. 2012-1650 December 7, 2012

Whereas the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (“the Commission”) rendered Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-485 on September 11, 2012, in which it approved an application by Rock 95 Broadcasting Ltd. for a broadcasting licence to operate a new commercial FM radio programming undertaking to serve Toronto, Ontario on frequency 88.1 MHz, channel 201A, with an average effective radiated power of 532 watts;

Whereas, subsequent to the rendering of the decision, the Governor in Council received a petition requesting that the decision be referred back to the Commission for reconsideration and hearing of the matter;

Whereas, in considering that petition, the Governor in Council has had regard to Part VII of the Official Languages Act (see footnote a);

And whereas the Governor in Council, having considered the petition, is not satisfied that the decision to approve that application derogates from the attainment of the objectives of the Canadian broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1) of the Broadcasting Act (see footnote b);

Therefore, His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, pursuant to section 28 of the Broadcasting Act (see footnote c), declines to refer back to the Commission for reconsideration and hearing Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-485 of September 11, 2012.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Order.)

Proposal

To respond, by the statutory deadline of December 10, 2012, to a petition requesting the Governor in Council to refer Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-485 back to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for reconsideration and hearing, pursuant to section 28 of the Broadcasting Act.

Objectives

  • To communicate that the Government is not satisfied that Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-485 derogates from the attainment of the policy objectives set out in subsection 3(1) of the Broadcasting Act.
  • To allow the launch of a new radio service in Toronto to proceed.

Background

On September 28, 2011, the CRTC announced that it had received an application by Dufferin Communications Inc. to change the frequency of its station CIRR-FM Toronto from 103.9 MHz to 88.1 MHz, as well as to increase its transmitter power. Given the scarcity of FM frequencies in the Toronto market, the CRTC called for applications from other parties wishing to obtain a radio licence to serve the Toronto area. The CRTC received 22 competing applications, each proposing the use of the frequency 88.1 MHz. These were considered at a public hearing held in Toronto in May 2012.

Seventeen of these applications were made for new radio stations: three for ethnic commercial stations, one for an English-language community based campus station, one for an English-language religious specialty station, and 12 for English-language commercial stations.

The five other applications were for technical changes to existing stations (e.g. new transmitters or changes of frequency) including three for English-language commercial stations, one for a French-language CBC/Radio-Canada station, and one for a French-language community station (CHOQ-FM operated by La Coopérative radiophonique de Toronto inc.).

On September 11, 2012, the CRTC issued Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-485, in which it approved, by majority decision, the application by Rock 95 Broadcasting Ltd. (Rock 95) for a broadcasting licence to operate a new English-language commercial radio station in Toronto at 88.1 MHz. The CRTC denied the other 21 competing applications.

In reaching its decision, the CRTC considered two primary issues: (1) can the Toronto radio market support new radio stations?; and (2) if so, which applications should be approved in light of the following factors?: the quality of the application, the diversity of news voices in the market, the market impact, and the competitive state of the market. With respect to the applications proposing technical changes to existing stations, the CRTC also evaluated the technical and economic need. Based on all of the foregoing, the CRTC considered that Rock 95’s proposal for an “indie” music format FM station focusing on emerging, independent artists from Canada and targeting a core audience of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 would add to the musical diversity of the market. Further, the CRTC deemed that, as a new entrant into the market, Rock 95 would enhance the diversity of news voices, while benefitting from synergies with its two existing stations in Barrie, CFJB-FM and CKMB-FM. There is currently no other radio station in Toronto that has an “indie” music format.

A petition was received on October 23, 2012, requesting that the Governor in Council refer back for reconsideration and hearing the CRTC decision of September 11, 2012, to issue a broadcasting licence to Rock 95 to operate a new radio station in Toronto at 88.1 MHz. The petition was based on technical, Broadcasting Act and Official Languages Act considerations.

Under section 28 of the Broadcasting Act, the Governor in Council may refer back to the CRTC a decision to issue a broadcasting licence for reconsideration and hearing, only if the Governor in Council is satisfied that it derogates from the attainment of the broadcasting policy objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act. In the present case, after careful consideration of the petition and having given regard to Part VII of the Official Languages Act, the Governor in Council was not satisfied that the decision derogated. Therefore, the Governor in Council has declined to refer back Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-485 to the CRTC, which issued a broadcasting licence to Rock 95 to operate a new commercial FM radio station in Toronto.

Implications

Therefore, the CRTC decision stands, which will allow Rock 95 to proceed with the launch of its radio station in the Toronto market.

Departmental contact

Scott Shortliffe
Deputy Director General
Broadcasting and Digital Communications Branch
Department of Canadian Heritage
Telephone: 819-997-9058