CJMS 1040 AM, CJWI 1410 AM fight for their lives in CRTC hearing

Jean Ernest Pierre is appearing in front of the CRTC on Wednesday hoping to save the two radio stations he owns.

Country music station CJMS 1040 AM and Haitian station CPAM Radio Union (CJWI 1410 AM) are two of the five stations that were told to appear at a CRTC hearing in Gatineau to justify their licence renewal applications, and explain why those renewals should not be for short terms or straight up denied because of their repeated non-compliance with their licence obligations. (The hearing, originally scheduled in person on May 12, will now be by teleconference June 16-18.)

Both CJMS and CJWI not only have short-term licences already, but both are subject to mandatory orders to require they remain in compliance with their obligations. Both stations have nevertheless had compliance issues, the commission says.

CJWI and CJMS had their licences renewed for two years in 2018 and three mandatory orders issued to each station after failure to comply with mainly paperwork-related issues.

For CJMS, which hasn’t had a compliant licence term since it was first licensed in 1998, “the Commission remains concerned that CJMS continues to be in severe and recurring non-compliance and that this is the fifth consecutive licence term in which the station has been found in non-compliance with regulatory requirements,” it said two years ago. Now, in its sixth licence term, it is still not compliant.

Compliance issues

CJMS

  • Missing financial statements for the 2018-19 broadcast year. Pierre blamed this on the accountant uploading a file that may have been too large for the CRTC’s server.
  • Inaccurate music lists, comparing the station’s auto-evaluation report with its music list for the period of Nov. 4-10, 2018. Pierre said some songs were miscategorized.

CJWI

  • Missing financial statements for the 2018-19 broadcast year. Pierre blamed this on the accountant uploading a file that may have been too large for the CRTC’s server.
  • Music quotas (based on a self-evaluation and music list for the period of July 7-13, 2019):
    • Too much popular music (31.32% vs. 30% maximum)
    • Too much francophone popular music (25.6% vs. 15% maximum)
    • Not enough world beat and international music (68.68% vs. 70% minimum)
    • Not enough of its world beat and international music selections were Canadian (15.8% vs. 35% minimum)
  • Inaccurate music listsĀ (based on the same self-evaluation and music list). Pierre said music-related non-conformities were because some songs played in the system but were muted by the host and so never actually broadcast.

In addition to these, both stations are accused of failing to abide by mandatory orders requiring them to remain in compliance with their licence conditions.

Interventions

The applications prompted four interventions, all of which were sent by fax and seemed to share a similar format. Broadcast consultant Michel Mathieu, who co-founded CJMS, and three others said the commission should not renew the licences because of the compliance issues, and brought up additional ones, including that CJMS had been filled with “ethnic” programming from the Haitian station and that CJMS had been continuing to broadcast repeat programming hosted by Pascal Poudrier, who died two years ago.

Pierre called criticisms of Haitian-Canadians on CJMS “racist” and said conformity issues were due to “technical problems” and non-renewal of licences would be an extreme reaction to this.

The CRTC hearing into licence renewals of non-compliant stations begins June 16 with CICR-FM Parrsboro, N.S., and CKMN-FM Rimouski/Mont-Joli, Quebec, followed by CJWI and CJMS on June 17 and CFOR-FM Maniwaki on June 18. Mathieu has been invited to speak as an intervener on the 17th, following which Pierre will be given a chance to respond.

5 thoughts on “CJMS 1040 AM, CJWI 1410 AM fight for their lives in CRTC hearing

  1. Dilbert

    There is a lot here I just don’t get.

    For the purely inane (financial statements) a simple follow up to the stations by the CRTC should have allowed the owners / accountants to send in a USB key or even printed material just to be in compliance. Also, why would two essentially tiny stations have financial statements so large that the CRTC can’t handle them but pretty much every other station (even the very large) have no troubles?

    Sounds like “dog ate my homework” level of excuses.

    For music selection, it’s another thing I just don’t get. Small variations such as the popular music represents only about 8 to 10 minutes in a broadcast day, essentially 2 songs. But in other areas such as too much franco popular, they are off by a nearly 2 full hours a day. That’s not “oops”, that is a fairly large error. I am assuming that these stations are using a level of automation where songs are played back from computer, and each play logged. A 2 hour per day discrepancy should show up on daily reports, not only in a one time single audit. The world beat Canadian requirement is even worse, off by nearly 3 hours per day. That pretty much means that all of the overage in franco pop music was at the expense of Canadian artist world beat / international.

    (all assumptions made on an 18 hour broadcast day)

    Since the stations have been out of compliance for so long, my suggestion for the CRTC would be this:

    Have the stations placed into a form of administation, with the CRTC itself appointing someone to work on a day to day basis at the stations for compliance issues. That would include reviewing music play lists on a daily / weekly / monthly basis to assure compliance to the conditions of license, and also to work with the accountants to assure that statements are prepared monthly with the quick roll up for the year end and filing with the CRTC on time.

    If the stations are not willing to accept this, pull the licenses or require that the stations are sold to non-related individuals or companies.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      But in other areas such as too much franco popular, they are off by a nearly 2 full hours a day.

      That assumes the station broadcasts 100% music, which is not the case for CJWI. But it remains a significant deviation.

      Have the stations placed into a form of administation, with the CRTC itself appointing someone to work on a day to day basis at the stations for compliance issues.

      That would be an interesting solution, but I’m not sure the CRTC has the resources to do its own daily monitoring of noncompliant radio stations. Instead, it prefers to impose regular reporting where it feels it’s needed.

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        The fact is for these stations regular reporting isn’t getting the job done. They are failing in significant ways that appears to be institutional and ingrained rather than accidental. At some point, the CRTC either has to rescind the license or come up with another way to solve the problems. Having someone on sight for a certain period of time may be a way to improve compliance and help everyone’s bottom line. These extended public hearing have to be costing a significant amount of money. Non compliant stations are expensive.

        As for the deviations, I used the full broadcast day. If the station has 50% music rather than 100%, they are still off by a full hour a day of music. If a full music station is playing 12 selections an hour, that is 24 songs over in a day. that means 1 to 2 songs over every hour of every day.

        It’s such a large level of error, that even the CRTC can’t excuse it.

        Reply
  2. Mario D.

    I just do not get what is the CRTC ‘s purpose. You have to get their broadcasting approval through a license that comes with promises and obligations. If for any or all the reasons you do not comply, you still have a chance to be heard while you continue to break the initiial agreement. Furthermore ,it does not take a lifetime of achievements in the industry to know who you are dealing with. Every name mentionned in this affair are well known for their past personnal histories and unreliable promises. Not that they don’t mean well or are trying to hide their real intentions but they just do not have what it takes financially and otherwise to reach what was their main goal.

    What amazes me is that knowing all that ,the CRTC issued a license and still are allowing them to operate. So what is the CRTC’ s purpose ? If for any reason you can transfer the license or change format before getting an approval or if you can broadcast trash without having to face real consequences then i’m asking again ,why have such a fake useless and powerless organization as the CRTC ?

    I do understand that some rules have to be in place to prevent the Bells and Quebecor of this world to wipe out everyone else but still ,looks to me that if it looks fishy from the start ,one could foresee future expectable outcomes…

    Reply
  3. Frank Scherer

    They will always play the racism card…they think they can do whatever they want bit when they get called on then they say that is racism or Haiti bashing … like some place I know

    Reply

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