While I was watching intently at a hearing in Montreal where BCE was making its case to buy Astral Media, the CRTC published a series of licence renewal applications, mainly from community, campus and other small stations across the country. Six of them are in the Montreal area, and their applications are summarized below.
For the most part, the small stations were found in apparent non-compliance with obligations of their licences. This is not uncommon for non-profit stations that have high staff turnover and small budgets. For the most part these failures deal with two things that happen off the air: required financial contributions to Canadian content development, or the filing of annual returns and other reporting requirements.
Under current policy, the CRTC deals with such non-compliance issues only at licence renewal time, and can decide among various options depending on the severity of the violation, up to and including non-renewal of the licence. The vast majority of the time, the response is to issue a short-term licence renewal (five years, three years or one year, depending on how short a leash they want).
Each station was given a chance to explain why it apparently failed to comply with its licence obligations, and it will be up to the CRTC to decide what to do. In each case, the file is open to public comment and anyone with issues relating to a particular station can express those views to the commission.
Below are links to each station’s application (in .zip format) and a link to file comments through the CRTC website.