Almost a month after refusing to renew the licence of country music station CJMS 1040 for failure to abide by its licence conditions, the CRTC has ended the suspense of what it would do for sister station CPAM Radio Union (CJWI) 1410, which was brought before the commission on the same day to answer the same apparent compliance issues.
In a decision published Thursday, the commission has decided to give that station another chance, renewing its licence for two years and imposing special conditions including three mandatory orders (even though it found the station in breach of two of its three previous mandatory orders), a requirement to broadcast their non-compliance, and a de facto fine of $2,836 (for the harm done to the Canadian music industry by not playing enough Canadian music).
The renewal comes despite the commission finding that “the licensee seems to lack both the willingness and the knowledge required to operate the station in compliance.”
So what was the big difference between the two stations? Why was one renewed and the other not? Partly because of their history (CJMS had more issues dating from before it was taken over by CPAM), but partly because the CRTC felt that the Haitian station made an effort to solve its issues with the commission:
However, after hearing the licensee during the public hearing, the Commission acknowledges that, despite its belated efforts, the licensee contacted Commission staff many times to obtain clarifications on its music programming obligations. The Commission notes that the licensee appears to now better understand the nature of the music categories and the appropriate manner to compile them. Further, the licensee mentioned multiple time to the Commission during the public hearing that it, if in doubt, it would contact the Commission to verify its understanding.
Although the licensee has a history of severe and repeated non-compliance, it demonstrated a willingness to continue operating CJWI in compliance and proposed additional corrective measures to try to comply with its obligations.
Of course, CPAM also owns CJMS and I don’t see how its efforts to save CJWI are more significant. The history (CJMS had been threatened with licence revocation before) is probably the more important factor, and the fact that CJWI serves a marginalized community can’t be overlooked. Had it been a simple commercial station the commission may have had less patience.
A two-year renewal and mandatory orders suggest this may be CJWI’s last chance to satisfy the commission. If the same issues come up next time, they’re probably looking at non-renewal, no matter how much the community may care about it.
In the meantime, as I’m writing this, CJMS is still on the air, with two days left in its licence. Programming director Jocelyn Benoit says the station will continue as an online-only broadcast as of Sept. 1, and has renamed its Facebook group and page from “CJMS 1040” to “CJMS 2.0”.
I think this one comes down in no small part to a question of the community the station serves and how it would look to pull the rug out from under them. Political correctness almost certainly plays a factor here.
The other thing in play here is the simple fact that the sister station lost it’s license. That should serve as a good warning shot that the CRTC actually, occasionally, once every so often, may actually consider doing their jobs correctly. When it comes to meeting the regulatory requirements to run a station, the tolerance for failure should be very, very low – like once and done. Stations all across the country have been essentially ignoring the CRTC except at renewal time. That needs to change if they want any chance of actually regulating anything other than their morning coffee order.
2 years is still a very long time for a station which is in such a position.
Do you really think the CRTC is or needs to be consistent in its Decisions? There is nothing in its Decisions suggesting consistency. Look how it favors CBC or how has never gone after First Nation pirate stations. It is favoring CPAM because it is afraid of blowback. CPAM is a cultural favorite that has demonstrated a lack of discipline and a flagrant abuse of the rules. The Commission will revisit this Decision again.
It is clear that the CRTC has a special treatment for ethnic broadcasters because of the multucultural nature of the political party forming the government. They will never shut it down as long as the liberals are in power.
That is far from clear. I’ve seen no evidence of this.
Mr. Berube Absolutely correct. All of which says the CRTC is an animal that is influenced by the politics of the matter. Same with First Nation pirate stations. Eamon
Pingback: CRTC once again threatens Montreal’s Haitian radio station with licence revocation | Fagstein