Monthly Archives: December 2013

Ted Bird, Java Jacobs to take over morning show at KIC 89.9 in Kahnawake

It wasn’t exactly kept super-secret, but after a “‘big tease’ social media campaign,” Ted Bird has confirmed he will be returning to the airwaves, reuniting with buddy Java Jacobs as the morning men for KIC Country 89.9 in Kahnawake, from 6am to 9am starting Jan. 6.

KIC (CKKI-FM) launched as KKIC Radio in 2011 after operating as a pirate (or perhaps just licence-challenged) station. Since then it has had a revolving door of morning personalities, including Brian Moon, Sheldon Harvey and most recently Chris Reiser, who have volunteered their time in exchange for a share of any advertising they could drum up. (Bird says he and Jacobs will be paid for their work at this station, though.)

Bird and Jacobs worked together as the morning team (with Paul Graif) at Kahnawake community station K103 from 2010 to 2012, when Bird left to join TSN Radio. He was let go from that job in September. Jacobs stayed on until last month, when he was let go and replaced by Lance Delisle.

Bird and Jacobs have been hinting about the new job for a while now, with Bird rediscovering country music to prepare for his new job. It’ll be his first stint at a commercial music station since he left CHOM.

Unlike K103, KIC Country is a private station focused on country music. It has a low-power signal and very few resources, so much of its schedule is music with no DJ. They’ll need to help turn things around dramatically for this station if they’re going to turn this into long-term or even medium-term career moves.

UPDATE (Jan. 8): Here’s 10 minutes of excerpts from their first show on Monday morning:

Katie Brioux, the new Montreal stamp lady

Katie Brioux shows off one of her stamps

Katie Brioux shows off one of her stamps

When Katie Brioux emailed me out of the blue to tell me she had started making and selling rubber stamps of Montreal’s architectural heritage, one of the big questions I had in my head was “that’s cool, but what would people do with these?”

As paper becomes less important a part of our daily lives, these stamps seem to be going the way of the dodo as well. And unlike the “APPROVED” and “PAID” and other useful office stamps you get at Bureau en Gros, these ones seem destined to lose their novelty quickly.

Thankfully Brioux isn’t making this her career. She’s a graphic designer, one I met two years ago when I was asked to speak to some journalism students and she was doing cool graphics for The Concordian. (I also follow her father, Bill Brioux, who writes about television for a living.)

As she explains in this story, which appears in Saturday’s Gazette, she created a series of stamps as part of a Concordia Student Union orientation campaign. Inspired by the passports used at Expo 67, it was a way to get students to visit all of the venues and events, each of which would have a different stamp to mark their passports with.

Later, she brought those stamps to colleagues in the design industry, and they loved them, encouraging her to make more and sell them. And so a small business was born.

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STM rate hikes 2008-2014

$TMAs usual, the STM was late in announcing its fares for the upcoming year. (Though there were mitigating circumstances, including the appointment of a new board after the municipal election and the delays in finding out exactly how much the agency was getting from the city.)

And as usual, there are complaints that the fares are too high (even though they’re much lower than other cities) or that the STM is wasting money (executive compensation is always a favourite target, even though it represents a very small part of the budget).

But are the fare hikes unreasonable? The STM says the fare is going up 3.2% this year, which is above the rate of inflation. On the other hand, users are getting more services as a result. There are more hours of bus service, plus large capital expenditures on new metro trains that should come by the end of 2014.

The agency also announced (probably to take some pressure off the rate hike) that the timetable for the installation of wireless infrastructure in the metro would be accelerated, and that the first downtown sections of tunnel would be part of the big four’s wireless networks by the end of 2014.

Here is some quantitative data on how fares have changed since 2008. It shows that the single fare, which remains frozen at $3 for 2014, stayed below the rate of inflation. But almost every other fare was far higher than that, with some fares increasing more than 30% since 2008.

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CHOM founder Geoff Stirling dies

Geoff Stirling, who founded CHOM in Montreal but is better known nationally as the eccentric owner of Newfoundland’s television superstation NTV, died on Sunday at the age of 92.

The Gazette has an obituary with Canadian Press that talks about Stirling and his Montreal connection (Presse Canadienne has another that does the same). There’s also an obit from St. John’s radio station VOCM and, of course, from NTV itself.

CHOM noted the passing on its Facebook page. Stirling started the station as CKGM-FM in 1963, back when FM radio was a novelty and few people were taking advantage of it.

I never met Stirling, so I don’t have much to add, but his reputation is larger than life. NTV was notorious for its bizarre late-night programming, and there are plenty of legends about Stirling himself making programming decisions or putting things on the air that no sane corporate owner would do today. But it wasn’t just that he was a crazy old man with lots of money. I mean, how many TV station owners have created comic book characters?

This story in The Scope gives a good rundown of some of all the things that made Stirling special.

His passing opens up a lot of questions about NTV. Will it be sold? It holds the unique distinction of being a de facto affiliate of both CTV and Global (it carries national newscasts from both networks). Either might be interested in buying it to have a Newfoundland station that carries 100% of their schedule.

Independent super stations in Canada are much less common than they used to be. Most are either owned by the networks themselves or are private stations that are affiliated with one of the major networks. Aside from the community stations, the religious stations and other special cases, there are only three independent commercial super stations, the others being CHEK in Victoria (a former E! network station that was sold to its employees and other local investors by Canwest) and CHCH in Hamilton, owned by Channel Zero. And those stations don’t have owners like Stirling.

Maybe this is truly the end of an era, when television stations were owned by one guy instead of a company with multiple shareholders, and when that one guy could just call up the station and say he wanted video of a fish tank to be played on air overnight.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. That NTV programming wasn’t exactly award-winning stuff. But it still feels as though a piece of the past has slipped away.

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2013-14 guide to holiday transit service

As I have in previous years, I ask that you have some sympathy for the bus, metro or train driver, station attendant or other employee who has to work during the holidays — some on Christmas morning, some through midnight on New Year’s Eve — just so that you can get you from point A to point B in the dark, wet, snowy mess that is the last week of the year.

And with this holiday season being even more snowy than normal, consider that buses will be late or possibly not even show up at all, and plan your transit trips accordingly.

Here’s what there is to expect as far as schedule changes this week and next:

STM (Montreal, including the entire metro)

Note that from Dec. 20 to Jan. 5, the STM offers its Family Outings plan, which allows an adult to bring up to five children under 12 to ride for free with a fare-paying adult. (Normally this is allowed only during weekends and statutory holidays.) This does not apply to the 747 bus.

  • Monday, Dec. 23 and Tuesday, Dec. 24:
    • Buses and metro service will follow a regular weekday schedule.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 25:
    • Bus routes will run on a Sunday schedule.
  • Thursday, Dec. 26:
    • Bus routes will run on a Saturday or special holiday schedule.
    • Metro service will run on a special schedule, with additional trains added to the Orange and Green lines to accommodate rabid Boxing Day shoppers.
  • Dec. 27-30: Normal schedules for all services.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 31:
    • Buses, metro and taxi service will follow a regular weekday schedule.
    • As usual, there’s no extension of metro service despite how many people are out celebrating New Year’s Eve. Last trains of the night leave the two blue line terminuses at 12:15am, in all five directions from Berri at 1:00am and from Longueuil at 1:00am.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 1:
    • Bus routes will follow Sunday schedules..
  • Thursday, Jan. 2:
    • Bus routes and metro trains will follow a Saturday or special holiday schedule.

Special rules for adapted transit are in place from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2.

Note that Opus cards can be recharged at any point after Dec. 20.

STL (Laval)

As usual, the STL offers free transit on its buses on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and is collecting donations instead.

Holiday schedules were apparently misstated in their printed schedules. The correct information is:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 24: Saturday schedule. Free service on all routes.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 25:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes.
    • The following will only have service from 11am to 9pm: 12, 20, 25, 27, 28, 31, 33, 37, 39, 40, 45, 46, 58, 61, 63, 65, 66, 74, 144 and 903.
    • All other routes will have full regular Sunday service.
  • Thursday, Dec. 26: Saturday schedules in effect for all routes.
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular schedules for all routes according to the day of the week.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 31: Saturday schedule. Free service on all routes.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes.
    • The following will only have service from 11am to 9pm: 12, 20, 25, 27, 28, 31, 33, 37, 39, 40, 45, 46, 58, 61, 63, 65, 66, 74, 144 and 903.
    • All other routes will have full regular Sunday service.
  • Thursday, Jan 2: Saturday schedule for all routes.

RTL (Longueuil)

Like the STL, the RTL is offering free service for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and is asking for donations in lieu of fares.

From their PDF guide:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 24 (free service): Saturday schedule for most routes, except:
    • Additional departures will be added to the following routes: 8, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 32, 35, 42, 44, 45, 47, 54, 73, 77, 80, 81, 83, 90, 99, 123, T77.
    • Regular weekday service or 91, 92, T22, T23 and T89.
    • The 177 will not run, replaced by the 77 which will offer special holiday service with departures every 30 minutes.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 25: Sunday schedule for all routes
  • Thursday, Dec. 26: Saturday schedules for most routes, except:
    • Saturday schedule with additional departures on lines 8, 35, 45, 80.
    • Weekday schedule for taxi lines T22 and T89.
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular service for all routes according to the day of the week
  • Tuesday, Dec. 31 (free service): Saturday schedule for all routes, except:
    • Additional departures will be added to the following routes: 8, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 32, 35, 42, 44, 45, 47, 54, 73, 77, 80, 81, 83, 90, 99, 123, T77.
    • Regular weekday service or 91, 92, T22, T23 and T89.
    • The 177 will not run, replaced by the 77 which will offer special holiday service with departures every 30 minutes.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes
  • Thursday, Jan. 2:
    • Saturday schedules for all routes, with additional departures on lines 8, 35, 45, 80.

AMT (commuter trains)

The AMT offers free trips on the three lines that operate on Christmas and New Year’s — Vaudreuil/Hudson, Deux-Montagnes and Saint-Jérôme.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 24: Regular weekday service on all lines
  • Wednesday, Dec. 25:
    • Sunday service on all lines that operate Sundays (all trips are free)
  • Thursday, Dec. 26:
    • Saturday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Vaudreuil and Saint-Jérôme lines
    • No service on other lines
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular service on all lines according to the day of the week
  • Tuesday, Dec. 31: Regular weekday service on all lines
  • Wednesday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday service on all lines that operate Sundays (all trips are free)
  • Thursday, Jan. 2:
    • Saturday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Vaudreuil and Saint-Jérôme lines
    • No service on other lines

Customer service at the AMT will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

RDS to keep 60 Habs games a season until 2026

They won’t say how much it cost, but RDS has bought the regional rights to all 60 Canadiens games not guaranteed to TVA Sports, and this until the 2025-26 season.

The deal, announced at 6pm on the Friday before Christmas, also includes an unspecified number of all preseason games each season. But Saturday night games, and all playoff games, remain with TVA.

The deal also applies only to “the team’s designated broadcast region”, the same region that the TSN Habs channel is limited to — Atlantic Canada, Quebec and eastern Ontario (going as far west as Belleville and Pembroke, so basically identical to the territory of Rogers Sportsnet East). So if RDS puts these matches on its main channel, that channel would have to be blacked out in the rest of the country. That’s almost certainly going to be the case, because the Canadiens is what RDS is all about. Bell Media spokesperson Renee Rouse confirmed that the network will be blacked out outside its regional market.

It’s unclear at this point how or if people in southern Ontario and west of there will get their Canadiens hockey in French. Rogers owns the rights to out-of-market games, but any French airing of those games on either Rogers or TVA channels would need to be blacked out in eastern Canada. Right now, out-of-market games are only available on the expensive NHL Centre Ice package, and it’s very possible that will continue.

Asked about out-of-market games, Rogers spokesperson Andrea Goldstein tells me that Rogers does indeed own the rights in both languages. But “it’s still early days and we’ll be announcing our programming plans in the coming months.” That sounds promising for the possibility of some non-Centre-Ice option for expat francophone Habs fans or those in places like northeastern Ontario.

When the Rogers deal was announced, we were promised no regionalization or blackouts, but since this is a regional deal, and there will indeed be blackouts, I’m not sure how that’s supposed to make sense, unless Rogers plans to offer out-of-market games on a different channel.

Either way, for the first time in a decade, all Canadiens games won’t be on the same channel in French, and RDS’s Canadiens games won’t be available nationally.

The RDS/Canadiens statement also makes no mention of mobile rights, online streaming, video-on-demand or any other type of rights to those games. Bell Media’s Rouse confirmed that they have not acquired any of these rights. So if you want to get that Tuesday night Canadiens game on your smartphone, you’ll still have to deal with Rogers and Quebecor.

Bell also announced that it has retained the naming rights to the Bell Centre until 2028. Bell owns 18% of the Canadiens, which may or may not have been a significant factor in all of this.

UPDATE (Dec. 27): Martin Leclerc of Radio-Canada says the broadcasting deal is worth $68 million a season, or about $1.1 million a game. He makes the case that neither TVA nor RDS should expect to make their money back.

CRTC orders Canadian TV distributors to carry Sun News

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has issued an order that all five Canadian national news channels (CBC News Network, RDI, LCN, CTV News Channel and Sun News Network) must be carried by all Canadian television distributors as of March 14, 2014.

The order requires the channels be made available, though not necessarily on the basic service. They will also need to be available on a stand-alone basis (i.e. individually) as of May 20 (or May 19, there’s a discrepancy between the languages).

The decision is a big win for Sun News, which has been arguing that carriage problems are the big reason the channel has not been successful. Now, with an order requiring that every cable company offer the channel to subscribers, and without having to buy other channels, they can’t really make this argument any more.

Sun News is already carried by most Canadian distributors. Telus and MTS are the biggest holdouts. But this decision gives it a bargaining chip during negotiations, which will help it push for a higher wholesale subscription fee.

The decision also requires distributors to put each channel in “the best available discretionary package consistent with its genre and programming, unless the parties agree otherwise.” This is open to interpretation, but if distributors create a popular news package, it must include all five Canadian national news channels.

But the biggest win is that it applies to all licensed distributors (some very small distributors with fewer than 20,000 subscribers are exempt from regulation, so this wouldn’t affect them). Though the decision does not discuss it, this appears to apply to analog cable as well, where Sun News currently has no carriage. Though analog cable is now a minority of subscribers nationally, Sun argued that its channel skews toward older Canadians, who are more likely to be on analog cable.

If this is the case (I’ve asked the CRTC to confirm my interpretation), then it will be annoying for distributors who are trying to move to digital cable. Now they’ll have to find a bandwidth-hogging analog channel for Sun News, and if they don’t already distribute LCN and CTV that way, those channels too.

This isn’t a win on all levels for Sun. It doesn’t give the channel what it had originally asked for — mandatory distribution to all Canadians on basic. It also doesn’t regulate channel placement (Sun News had wanted to require distributors to put its channel next to other news channels on the dial), though it establishes guidelines for “news neighbourhoods”, effectively saying that if distributors redo their lineups to put like services together, it should include all five Canadian national news channels near each other. It suggested that failure to do this could result in an undue preference complaint.

Distributors who don’t have their own national news channels (i.e. everyone but Bell and Quebecor) argued that to give these channels this privilege, there must be more stringent criteria for licensing new channels, otherwise there could be an explosion of such channels as everyone starts out of the gate with guaranteed access rights. The CRTC didn’t set new criteria, but because the order only applies to the five services currently in operation, a new service would need a separate decision to get the same rights.

The CRTC says it will look at what criteria it should set for licensing new national news services during its wide-ranging review of the television regulation model. Until it does (the process is expected to take most of 2014), it will not process new applications for national news channels under the “Category C” framework that the five existing ones are subject to.

The decision also doesn’t completely level the playing field. It does not require that news channels on basic be removed from it. So if your provider has CBC News Network, RDI and CTV News Channel on basic, they’re not required to add LCN and Sun News to it as well. It just needs to make those two available.

Quebecor welcomed the decision in a statement: “Sun News will move forward in 2014 by negotiating new cable and satellite agreements that are in alignment with the new policy framework to ensure that Sun News is treated in a substantially similar fashion to other all news channels.”

CKHQ-FM Kanesatake re-applies for new CRTC licence

Another community radio station serving a native community near Montreal is coming back to life.

This summer, some people in Kanesatake, northwest of the city, went to the old radio station, cleaned it out and put it back on the air. CKHQ-FM 101.7 was first licensed in 1988 at a paltry 11 watts. Its licence expired in 2004, after the CRTC failed to receive an application for a renewal and gave the station a one-year extension to apply. As this APTN News story explains, the station went into disarray and was effectively abandoned after the former station manager died.

Both the CRTC and Industry Canada confirmed to me this summer that the station does not have a broadcasting licence.

So when it did go back on the air, on a part-time basis, it was operating without a licence. Industry Canada told me in September that it would investigate.

Within weeks, CRTC staff were working with James Nelson on an application for a new licence, and last week, that application was published by the commission.

Nelson is the applicant, on behalf of a company to be incorporated, which would have him as the president and three other people on the board of directors (Shawana Etienne, Mike Dubois and Tahkwa Nelson, all from the community).

According to the application, the station would have the exact same technical parameters as it did before: 11 watts, from a transmitter on the reserve, reaching its few thousand residents but not much farther. But the correspondence between James Nelson and the CRTC suggests the plan is to, as part of a separate application down the line, increase that power to 50W.

Programming-wise, the station would broadcast 83 hours of programming a week (or about 12 hours a day), all of it local, of which 68 hours would be music and 15 hours spoken word. The language would be 95% English and 5% Mohawk.

The application documents show that there was a lot of handholding in this process, which is unusual. The last time I remember seeing something like that was with the application process for CKKI-FM in Kahnawake. The two share common elements: They’re both stations that were operating without a licence on a Mohawk reserve, on frequencies that had previously been legitimately licensed for native stations. (CKKI’s pirate frequency of 106.7 was formerly the home of an Aboriginal Voices Radio station serving Montreal.)

The station would be funded through private donations and through a regular radio bingo program, which it has already started running again.

The station has also launched a Facebook page.

The CRTC is accepting comments on CKHQ’s application until Jan. 27. To file a comment, click here, select Option 1 and then select application 2013-1280-1: James Nelson (OBCI). Note that all comments, and contact info submitted with them, are on the public record.

Videotron customers upset about not getting new HD channels

It’s been two weeks since Videotron added new HD versions of 36 English-language channels for some customers in Montreal. But many people who live in the Montreal area were disappointed or even upset when they turned on their TVs on Dec. 4 and didn’t see the new channels they were promised.

Aside from word of mouth, the only source of information about the new channels came from an article I wrote in The Gazette last month, after a meeting with people at Videotron who explained that the new channels would be available only to people in Montreal who had next-generation Illico receivers.

Videotron itself hasn’t advertised the new channels (with the exception of Sportsnet 360, which was made available to everyone throughout the network) on its website or on other media, probably because of the difficulty in explaining who gets it and who doesn’t.

As we learned after the channels were launched, not all of Montreal has access to the new channels, regardless of which version of the Illico set-top box they have.


Because the new channels are being distributed on new frequencies that aren’t accessible to everyone.

The Montreal network is being “modernized”, using Videotron’s term for it. Head ends, which transmit the TV and Internet data on the coaxial cable lines that reach into people’s homes, are being brought closer to those homes. Instead of each serving, say, 1000 homes, they’re now serving 100 each. This is expensive, but it has a few advantages.

Because in each cell, the same data is being sent to everyone, increasing the number of cells means any data meant for only one home (video on demand, Internet data, VOIP phone data or TV channels distributed through switched video) takes up less space on the network and a channel can be reused 10 times as much. More reuse of bandwidth can mean more HD channels or faster Internet speeds.

The other thing it does is allow the network to operate on higher frequencies. In non-modernized areas, there’s an upper limit of around 800-850MHz, beyond which signals aren’t reliable enough over the distance to the homes to put digital signals there. But in modernized areas of Montreal, data can be transmitted as high as 1000 MHz (1 GHz). This adds about 20 or so new 6 MHz channels, each of which can carry multiple HD feeds. The 36 HD feeds available only to modernized Montreal are transmitted on these frequencies, with two to each 6 MHz channel.

Unfortunately, I still don’t know exactly what areas of Montreal are modernized and which are not. There is no map that I’m aware of. Instead, Videotron is asking people to call their customer service to find out if they have access.

In general, modernized areas include the West Island, the western part of Laval and bits of the north and south shores. The eastern part of Montreal and other areas of the region are not yet modernized, and there’s no word on when they will be.

If you want to find out if you’re in it, the easiest way to do so is to put your address into this form. If you see ABC Spark, Animal Planet and Discovery Science listed as HD (the “HD” will be in red), then you’re in a modernized area. If you don’t, you’re not.

But at least you still got the fireplace channels (552 and 553) for another few weeks.

Obituaries for former CKAC morning man Jacques Proulx

Jacques Proulx, who was the morning host on CKAC radio for two decades, died on Saturday at 78 years old. He was well before my time, so I’ll leave it to others to do proper obituaries. Here’s what I’ve found online:

And a tribute video from 98.5FM:

CHOM changes its logo, launches new ad campaign focused on music

Comparison of CHOM logos. On the left, the one in use since 2010. On the right, the new one just unveiled.

Comparison of CHOM logos. On the left, the one in use since 2010. On the right, the new one just unveiled.

CHOM is undergoing a moderate transformation, which includes an updated logo, replacing the one it’s used since 2010, and a new website.

The new logo keeps the badge outline, but replaces the grey and orange design that went overkill on the gradients with a simpler black-and-white one that’s literally rougher around the edges.

But the formula isn’t being toyed with. CHOM remains “the spirit of rock” and the music will sound the same.

“We thought the logo was a bit dated even though it’s not that old,” program director André Lallier told me on Friday. “The timing was good also, because over the past two years, the music has evolved. We’re playing a lot of newer stuff.”

The new logo, and the ad campaign that goes with it, are the work of ad agency Bleublancrouge, whose clients include The Gazette. (It did their Words Matter campaign in 2006.)

Lallier said it was the agency that approached them about three months ago asking if they could pitch an idea. “They said we’ll work on something and present something to you in three to six weeks.” After giving the agency a full briefing on how CHOM sees itself and what it’s looking for, Bleublancrouge returned with this campaign, which is focused on CHOM’s music: a mix of classic rock and new rock.

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Anglos hate Quebec, says SSJB report condemning malicious generalizations of linguistic groups

Examples of francophobia on social media collected and published in a report by the SSJB.

Examples of “francophobia” on social media collected and published in a report by the SSJB.

I really don’t want to write this. I hate wading into language issues, because I know nobody’s mind is ever changed in those debates. And I hate giving attention to something so unworthy of it yet so desperate to get it.

But a manifesto published by a group assembled by the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste that condemns “francophobia” by, among other things, anglophone media in Canada, is way off the mark, and predictable sarcastic responses by people like Don Macpherson will do little to enlighten anyone.

The thing is, there is Quebec-bashing out there, and attention does need to be paid to it. But a factually-incorrect manifesto that has the focus and self-criticism of a blog post comment thread will just lead the other solitude to conclude that the problem does not exist.

So let’s delve into the document that purports to give an update on “recent” examples of francophobia (Mordecai Richler is mentioned three times even though he’s been dead for 12 years).

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Mike FM gets green light for more non-ethnic programming, but CKIN-FM is denied same

Mike FM studios on Parc Ave.

Mike FM studios on Parc Ave.

Mike FM (CKDG-FM 105.1), the station that is trying to make money by pairing popular English music during rush hour with multicultural programming for the rest of the schedule, is getting a break from the broadcast regulator to allow it to have 12 more hours a week of English programming.

On Friday, the CRTC approved licence renewals for CKDG and sister station CKIN-FM (which airs French programs during rush hour). Both are getting short-term three-year renewals, which indicate important non-compliance with their licences.

Licence changes

Canadian Hellenic Cable Radio, which owns both stations, requested changes to the licences for both stations, dropping the amount of ethnic programming a week from 70% to 60%, the amount of third-language programs from 60% to 50%, and to be allowed to broadcast in fewer languages (six instead of eight) but to more cultural groups (eight instead of six). The requested changes would have put both stations on par with standard conditions for ethnic radio stations.

Because the broadcast day is 6am to midnight, there are 126 hours in the broadcast week, which means English non-ethnic programming on CKDG could go up from 50 hours a week to 63 hours a week, or from 10 to 12.6 hours each weekday if there’s no such programming on the weekend. English-language ethnic programming would stay at a maximum of 10% of the schedule if the English non-ethnic hours are used to their maximum.

CHCR said it planned to offer more programming in Spanish and Russian, bring its Mandarin programming to a daily show on CKIN, and introduce monthly shows for other communities not currently represented.

The CRTC approved the licence changes for CKDG to give it more flexibility. But CKIN is finishing its first licence term and has only been on the air for three years, and it got its licence in a competitive process, beating other stations applying for licences in part because of these promises to go beyond the standard conditions of licence. The CRTC denied its licence amendments for that reason.


The CRTC found issues with both stations complying with their licence obligations. In the case of CKDG, it found the station had not properly shown proof of payment for Canadian content development contributions, that it failed to meet a 2011 deadline to repay CCD contribution shortfalls dating as far back as 2003, and that it failed to provide annual financial returns on time. For CKIN, it also found it failed to meet deadlines for CCD payments.

CHCR blamed administrative errors for its bookkeeping failures, and has promised to rectify that. It has since paid back its financial shortfalls.

Nevertheless, because of the seriousness of the errors, and the fact that CKDG’s last licence renewal in 2010 was also short-term for similar reasons, the CRTC decided to give only a three-year renewal.

The new licence, and the flexibility to air more English non-ethnic programming on CKDG, takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014. We don’t know what will be done as far as the schedule is concerned, but expect the afternoon drive show to be extended from 6pm to 7pm, or maybe more English programming during the work day.