Quebec City still isn’t ready for its first English-language commercial radio station, CRTC finds

Evanov Radio’s controversial plan to launch Quebec City’s first English-language commercial radio station will have to wait some more after being denied again by the CRTC.

In a decision released Thursday, the commission said the Quebec City radio market “cannot sustain an additional radio station at this time” and that the two applications for new stations — the other by Gilles Lapointe and Nelson Sergerie is for a French station — would be returned.

Evanov had previously tried a decade ago to convince the CRTC to move forward with an English music station in the provincial capital, but the commission denied its application in 2010, in a controversial decision that included a dissenting opinion.

The application is controversial because the other stations in the market argue that Quebec City’s English-language population is far too small to sustain a commercial radio station, so Evanov would instead target the francophone population. By being an English station, it would not be subject to the 65% French-language music rule, which would give it an unfair competitive advantage by allowing it to play more American and U.K. hit songs that are very popular among francophone audiences.

Evanov, who wants to launch a Jewel brand station in Quebec City, argues it wants to serve the anglophone community as well as the anglophone tourist market (though Quebec City already has an English tourist information station), and that it has experience in running radio stations in small markets.

The 2010 decision includes a detailed analysis of the anglophone market in Quebec City. But today’s decision only analyzes the market conditions overall, without commenting specifically on the appropriateness of an English radio station in Quebec.

The current applications for Quebec City actually date from 2016, but were put on hold when the CRTC ran low on French-speaking commissioners.

Under CRTC rules, it won’t consider new applications for Quebec City for the next two years. In December 2020, they can try again.

The news was better in neighbouring communities. In Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, an application by Attraction Radio for a second music station there will go ahead. And in Portneuf, which is technically still the home of CHXX-FM (Pop 100.9), the commission will proceed with an application by Michel Lambert. Both raised concerns from the commercial broadcasters in Quebec City for fear that they might eventually target the Quebec City market. The Beauce application was also opposed by Groupe Radio Simard, which owns stations in Saint-Georges-de-Beauce.

The applications themselves haven’t yet been published, but should be soon. a public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 20 (to hear an application for Leclerc Communication to buy CHOI Radio X and 91,9 Sports from RNC Media), but these items will not require any oral presentations.

9 thoughts on “Quebec City still isn’t ready for its first English-language commercial radio station, CRTC finds

  1. Anonymous

    It’s not the governments business to determine, nor limit, a businesses attempt to succeed, nor fail. The market decides if Quebec City can support an English language radio station.

    If one little english radio station can un-ravel the entire Quebec City radio market, then that says there is something wrong with that radio market.

    They’ll approve any 3rd language (non French or English) radio stations to operate. Yet refuse to allow an official language of Canada to operate a radio station.

    The CRTC needs to be put on a leash.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      It’s not the governments business to determine, nor limit, a businesses attempt to succeed, nor fail. The market decides if Quebec City can support an English language radio station.

      So how do you decide what applicant to give the last remaining frequency to?

      If one little english radio station can un-ravel the entire Quebec City radio market, then that says there is something wrong with that radio market.

      The argument is that the market is already suffering, and that this would just make it worse. So, yes, there is something wrong with the radio market.

      Reply
    2. Keith Rowe

      Pls DONT BE ANONYMOUS!! We show our strenth in numbers by standing up to these racist bastards….I will never give up my fight in which Quebec becomes a bilingual province open to all no matter their language be…

      Reply
  2. Joe cannon

    I worked CJQC in Quebec City. In 1962 and 63. We were defiantly a commercial English radio station. Owned by the pollack family

    Reply
  3. Lorne

    The Anglophone market deserves a radio station. What is wrong with the French stations having a little competition?

    Reply
  4. Stéphane Dumas

    I remember the times when Sherbrooke got its English station with CKTS-900 later known as K900. Later it became a repeater of CJAD and was shut down in 2006.

    Reply
  5. Robert Bradley

    I remember CKTS in the late 50ts I also remember CHRS 1050 in the late 50ts which was french but had some English programming. I fled Quebec in 1994 after it became an intolerable place to live even though I was fully bilingual. Even CBC radio CBM changed all town names to french . So I, m not surprised they won’t permit a English station licence.

    Reply

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