Who would have thought that submissions to the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission or the CRTC for short to the uninitiated could be so interesting.
It's funny to read suggestions by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters on the subject of campus and community radio stations. Funny in a not a ha ha funny way given that the CAB represents the private radio industry in Canada.
Even funnier and again not in a ha ha type of funny when the CRTC make recommendations and decisions to the campus and community radio sector, less than a year after the CAB submissions.
Pierre-Louis Smith, the Vice-President, Policy and Chief Regulatory Officer of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters in October 2009 wrote to Robert A. Morin, the Secretary General of the CRTC in response to a request for submissions regarding Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2009-418 – Review of campus and community radio.
Just to give you an idea of who the CAB are, this is what Pierre-Louis Smith wrote in his opening paragraph,
"The Canadian Association of Broadcasters is the national voice of Canada’s private broadcasters" and after writing about the woes affecting the commercial radio sector due to the recent global economic down turn and the ongoing problems this presents Smith gets to the crux of the matter,
"It is therefore against this backdrop that the CAB is intervening in the context of the current proceeding. As stated at the outset of this submission, the CAB will limit its comments and recommendations to: (i) the role of community/campus radio in the broadcasting system; (ii) licensing mechanisms for community/campus stations; (iii) approaches to funding; and (iv) spectrum issues."
Take note of those last two words - spectrum issues, which in plain English is the competition relating for control of the radio frequencies.
The National Campus and Community Radio Association, the organization representing campus and community radio stations in Canada has been lobbying the CRTC to ensure that part of the radio spectrum be maintained for non-commercial radio operations. The CAB is opposed to this, "that, in accordance with its jurisdiction, the Commission refrain from setting aside spectrum for the expansion of the campus/community radio sector", writes Smith.
And so in July 2010 in its Summary of Determinations the CRTC recommended under the heading Technical matters in Appendix 1 to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-499.
"The Commission considers that it is inappropriate to reserve frequencies or portions of the radio spectrum for use by specific classes of licensees, such as campus or community stations."
So there we have it - there's competition for the airwaves, and campus station CKLN out of Toronto and now community station CFRO out of Vancouver are fighting for survival. Both have now been called in for infractions under the radio regulations.