Broadcaster Magazine

CRTC Hearings Begin on New Ethnic Stations in Vancouver

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  • The CRTC has commenced hearings to consider applications to operate new ethnic commercial AM and FM radio stations in the Greater Vancouver market, including the City of Surrey.

    In addition, the Commission will study an application by the South Asian Broadcasting Corporation to amend the licence of the ethnic commercial radio station CKYE-FM Vancouver to add a transmitter to rebroadcast its programming in Surrey.

    Some of these applicants have proposed the use of the same frequencies as well as alternative frequencies, which will also be under consideration.

    These applications will be examined in light of the objectives for the broadcasting system set out in the Broadcasting Act, as well as the Commission’s policies and regulations flowing from it.

    In the second phase of the hearing, the Commission will be addressing three entities that appear to be operating radio stations in Canada without a licence or pursuant to an exemption in contravention of the Broadcasting Act. These entities have been called to appear before the Commission pursuant to section 12 of theBroadcasting Act.

    Two of these entities, Surrey Myfm Inc. and 89.3 Surrey City FM Limited, operate stations in the Surrey market. They claim to be operating low-power tourist information stations further to Broadcasting Order 2024-447 (the Tourist Exemption Order). The third entity, Sur Sagar Radio Inc., claims to be operating a low-power house of worship station further to Broadcasting Order 2024-621 (the House of Worship Exemption Order).

    In these orders, the Commission exempted low-power stations from the requirement to hold a broadcasting licence given that their niche programming and limited appeal would not have an undue impact on other stations in the market. However, in order to operate without a licence and further to an exemption order, an undertaking must fully comply at all times with the terms of the exemption order.

    Further to a Commission investigation, it appears that the entities called to this hearing are not operating their stations in compliance with the terms of the exemption orders pursuant to which they purport to operate. In particular, their programming appears to be inconsistent with the terms of the exemption order. As well, it appears that the two tourist information stations have not taken the necessary steps to implement the emergency alerting system.

    Moreover, it appears that Surrey Myfm Inc. and Sur Sagar Radio Inc. may be broadcasting at a higher power than authorized by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada), and that 89.3 Surrey City FM Limited may be operating without the necessary authority from this department.

    The panel expects Surrey Myfm Inc., 89.3 Surrey City FM Limited, and Sur Sagar Radio to demonstrate why the Commission should not issue mandatory orders requiring them to cease and desist from operating a radio station unless they are in compliance with the Act.