The CRTC has approved the application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for a broadcasting licence to operate a French-language FM radio station in Edmonton, Alberta, to replace its AM station CHFA Edmonton, under the same conditions of licence as those in CHFA’s current licence.
The Commission also approves the application by the CBC to modify the technical parameters of the transmitters CBCX-FM-1 Edmonton and CHFA-10-FM Edmonton.
The Commission received two applications by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which, according to the CBC, are non separable. The first application is to obtain a broadcasting licence to operate a French-language FM radio programming undertaking in Edmonton, in order to replace the licensee’s current AM station, CHFA Edmonton, an affiliate of the network service La Première Chaîne. The second application is to switch the transmitter sites of CBCX-FM-1 Edmonton and CHFA-10-FM, and to modify the technical parameters of both transmitters. The Commission received an intervention in support of both applications.
The CBC stated that it is forced to cease operating the transmitter CHFA-10-FM as a result of residential zones encroaching on the transmitter site. The CBC wishes to make the nested rebroadcasting transmitter CHFA-10-FM the primary transmitter for La Première Chaîne in Edmonton.
In order to limit the decrease in coverage associated with the transition from the AM to the FM band, the CBC proposed switching the site of CHFA-10-FM with that of CBCX-FM-1, its other FM transmitter in Edmonton, which rebroadcasts the programming of CBCX-FM Calgary (Espace musique). The CBC submitted that this proposal would improve FM-band access to La Première Chaîne, the only French-language radio service to offer news and regional programming to the population of Edmonton.
Once the two transmitters are relocated, the transmitter CHFA-10-FM would move from 101.1 MHz (channel 266A) to 90.1 MHz (channel 211C1). The effective radiated power would increase from 3,931 to 100,000 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain increasing from 123.7 to 193 metres). According to the CBC, this would increase by 8.7% the number of Francophones having access to La Première Chaîne’s FM signal in Edmonton. Going forward, the current transmitters associated with CHFA would be under the new FM station’s licence.
In regard to the transmitter CBCX-FM-1, it would move from 90.1 MHz (channel 211C1) to 101.1 MHz (channel 266A), and its ERP would decrease from 100,000 to 3,931 watts (non-directional antenna with an EHAAT decreasing from 193 to 123.7 metres). The CBC stated that this would result in a decrease of 8% in the number of Francophones having access to the programming of the national service Espace musique in Calgary.
The Commission notes that in addition to moving CHEA from the AM to the FM band, the net result of the CBC’s proposal would be a change of frequency: La Première Chaîne would, going forward, be available at 90.1 MHz (currently 101.1 MHz), while Espace musique would be available at 101.1 MHz (currently 90.1 MHz).
The Commission also notes that it received no interventions from the Edmonton Francophone community opposing these applications.
The Commission concluded that the exchange of frequencies as proposed by the CBC would solve the CBC’s problem while maintaining good coverage in the service areas of each radio station affected by the exchange. The Commission further concludes that this exchange of frequencies is the most appropriate technical way for the CBC to address its problem, and that it constitutes an appropriate use of the frequencies.
The Commission considers that these applications serve the public interest and reflect the objective set out in the Broadcasting Act, which stipulates that the programming provided by the CBC should “be made available throughout Canada by the most appropriate and efficient means and as resources become available for the purpose.”
The Commission authorizes the CBC to simulcast the programming of CHFA-10-FM on CHFA for a transition period of three months following the commencement of operations of the FM station in order to inform listeners and allow them time to adapt to the frequency change. In accordance with the Act, and at the licensee’s request, the Commission revokes the broadcasting licence for CHFA at the end of the simulcast period.