AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

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AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby jon » Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:54 am

Aaron wrote:The AVR stations (except Ottawa) are still on as they're appealing the decision.

The Federal Court of Appeals document:
http://radiowest.ca/history/kmbt35020150723155840.pdf
(PDF)
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Re: AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby albertaboy4life » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:42 am

Paragraph 14 of the Justice's decision is odd. So AVR can continue to not meet the terms and conditions of its licenses, beyond the current license terms, until it's determined by a Judge that AVR has not met the terms and conditions of its licenses? Silly exercise . . . and yes I know that there is a lot a stake for AVR, but after 13 years of non-compliance this really does seem to be a bit much.

And is it appropriate for license holders to openly post messages like the following? -

Voices Calgary 88.1FM
April 10 ·

Deadline for letters of support for Aboriginal Voices Radio is 8pm EST
CRTC is threatening to revoke our licenses, We are a non-profit that receives no government funding. They expect us to meet crazy conditions in line with multimillion dollar for profit FM stations...the CBC towers where we broadcast from charge us for profit rates more than double the rate of other not for profits ... HELP!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Voices-C ... 4723690264

***

Crazy conditions? AVR agreed to them to get the licenses . . . And it's unreasonable for CBC to charge market rates for tower use? Unreal.
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Re: AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby Aaron » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:26 am

They posted the same message on their Ottawa page, and the Ottawa station wasn't even on a CBC tower.
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Re: AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby jon » Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:38 pm

Aboriginal Radio Network Fighting CRTC: Stays On Air
By David Farrell
fyi music news
Mon, 07/27/2015 - 12:06

Canadian radio network Voices Radio — formerly Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR) — has won a last minute reprieve after it was ordered off the air by the CRTC effective, Saturday, July 25th.

A last minute intervention by the Attorney General of Canada has stayed the order allowing the network with stations in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver to appeal the broadcast regulator's decision.

According to the Broadcasting Act, a person may appeal a CRTC decision on a question of law or jurisdiction.

AVR is arguing that shutting down the network would do irreparable harm and unjustly affect the livelihoods of people working with it. It also contends that the revocation was based to regulatory violations attributable to its Ottawa radio station and that the violations of one station in the network aren't justifiable cause for revoking the network's licenses.

The network's administrative office is located in Ohsweken, Ontario, on the Six Nations Indian reserve near Brantford. The stations' music programming consists mainly of adult contemporary music (including both mainstream and indigenous artists), along with specialty programs focusing on aboriginal-oriented content.

According to broadcast consultant Iain Grant, writing on the Sowny Radio Board, the broadcast regulator could have been more conciliatory in its dealing with the AVR.

I had a bit to do with this stuff, and I can assure you they were completely aware Ottawa was off the air, from the second week. Bell disconnected the broadcast lines between the playout server and the transmitter, and there was a huge balance owing to re-connect, and the money just wasn't there. The drive and passion were always there, the money to execute it all couldn't be found.

A group of veteran broadcasters, myself included, were recruited late last year to help relaunch, bring the stations back into compliance, and work with AVR to come up with mainstream programming, advertising and marketing initiatives to help the stations at least break even, while still respecting the original cultural mandate of the format. We all did this on a voluntary basis since we understood the passion and need for this format, yet also what it would take for the format to be financially viable. We executed a 'singer and songwriter' format where up to 20% of the daily content being aired was indigenous, 38% was Cancon, yet it fit into the format well enough that it just felt like part of the programming.

By the end, there was a reasonable chunk of money coming in from hourly sponsorships. Especially in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto (mainly Toronto). There was an agency selling and they were doing a great job. Suppliers had started to get (re)paid and things were in gear to bring the stations back into compliance, but the money situation still needed a lot of work. It had started to come in, and compliances were starting to be met. It was all boots on the ground retail stuff, but with the new format, the station was starting to appear in offices all over the place. We were in a position where we were ready to start the local shows, newscasts and refined the spoken word stuff.

A lot of water had passed under the bridge since early 2014 when the tapes were requested, and September 2014 when our group started working with AVR. But the CRTC wasn't interested in any of that.

The appeal court judge asked why all the licenses were revoked when the big problem was Ottawa, and since the last tapes/logs that had been requested were from May 2014 (Toronto/Van) the CRTC really had no proof or knowledge whether the stations were now in compliance or not. They certainly don't now, since logs/tape only has to be kept for 30 days unless otherwise ordered.

Grant then adds his own personal comment, opining that "the stations were doomed from the start. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, in every single market, with the exception of Edmonton, the signal patterns sucked. Toronto for example has a hard job hitting Scarborough and Mississauga. Vancouver starts to break up as you get into Burnaby. I believe with everything I have that AVR were taken advantage of."
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Re: AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby albertaboy4life » Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:51 pm

Outside of periods where the station operated with unbalanced stereo channels or low volume, AVR's Calgary frequency (88.1 FM) is solid (being on the "pricey" CBC tower after all). :towel:
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Re: AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby jon » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:27 pm

Although their press release did try to stress the "real point", the CRTC may be their own worst enemy in this case by:
  1. Spending so much of the actual Decision on Reporting and other Admin regulation errors, and
  2. Announcing it with the CFSI decision, where the license was rescinded for continued Admin/Reporting failures.
The "real point", of course, is that, even with all the professional help of the last couple of months, the CKAV-FM stations are not something that Urban Natives are listening to, even if they knew it existed.

In fact, I was "shocked" at how much the station had changed since the Edmonton station started testing in 2007. Although Edmonton never had any locally-produced station content, the original music mix did have a pretty strong "Native feel" to it, though clearly from a Toronto perspective: more AC-oriented than the Country music flavour that you would expect to work better here. And that you can hear on CFWE-FM, which was relatively recently granted Fort McMurray and Edmonton transmitters to expand from their Native Reserve target audience to include Urban Natives.

Instead, the music I've heard over the last couple of weeks would be something I'd expect from someone trying to compete with CHFI-FM in 2000. I was surprised how much Cancon they mined from Gordon Lightfoot's United Artists albums of the '60s, which I doubt CHFI ever played.

I know how many positive comments there have been about the addition of OTR starting at 10:00 p.m. at night. Complete with cigarette commercials. I seem to have missed the Aboriginal connection there. Did I miss that part of Native culture where their grandfathers sat every young child down and told him or her about listening to Dragnet and The Shadow on the radio in the 1940s in the long winter nights when it was too dark to go out hunting and fishing?

I expect that most Natives would be insulted by the presence on CKAV-FM of the syndicated U.S. show by an ER doctor on the cases he sees on a daily basis. It too conveniently fits into the stereotype of the Native substance abuser being the reason that ER Wait Times often spike.

While I can understand how, in 2000, the argument would be made, by CKAV to the CRTC, that you can only reach Urban Natives in English, the past 15 years have seen a lot of success with Native Reserves reaching out to Natives both on the Reserve and in nearby Urban centres with Cultural Awareness education. A big part of that has been language training. Many Native parents now go out of their way to speak their ancestral language as much as possible so that it comes naturally when speaking with their children at home, to help "root" the children in their culture. CFWE-FM, and even Northern CBC stations like CFYK in Yellowknife, dedicate significant parts of their program schedule to Native language programming. But not CKAV.

It will be a real shame if the CRTC loses this legal fight on the grounds of "small regulatory infractions". Rather than the real issue: not serving the audience CKAV was licensed for.
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Re: AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby Toomas Losin » Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:28 pm

I expect both sides, pro and con for AVR, are preparing their arguments but I'm wondering about the bottom line: Has anyone ever heard an actual commercial on CKAV?
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Re: AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby jon » Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:24 pm

Toomas Losin wrote:Has anyone ever heard an actual commercial on CKAV?

Thanks for prompting me to do a little research. I misinterpreted AVR's request (in a 6 March 2015 letter to the CRTC) to waive the requirement that they be a Non-Profit Corporation, as meaning that they were allowed to carry advertising. Like Toomas, I have never heard a commercial on the station.

I did just read the original approval for the first (Toronto) station back in 2000. The license included an exemption from the standard Native license's limit of 4 minutes per hour of advertising.
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Re: AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby jon » Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:55 pm

There apparently has been some question whether AVR can (legally, not technically) stay on the air after August 31st. A reporter to Dan Sys' Canadian Radio News Facebook page found this quote in a cartt.ca post that is attributed to court documents from July 23rd: “In the event that the application by AVR for leave to appeal this Decision has not been determined by August 31, 2015, the broadcasting licenses for these four radio stations shall continue on the same terms and conditions as those that were applicable to these licences prior to the Decision, until the application for leave to appeal is determined”

To the best of my knowledge, AVR Edmonton has not been on the air at all in the month of August. And I suspect the same is true for Calgary.
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Re: AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby jon » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:26 pm

http://radiowest.ca/history/20150821ckavappeal.pdf

Last Friday, the Federal Court of Appeal gave AVR permission to appeal the CRTC Decision to terminate CKAV-FM licenses in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa. Until that Appeal is decided ("final determination"), CKAV-FM is allowed to operate all 5 of those transmitters.

My reading of the Federal Court of Appeal Order is that AVR could risk being in Contempt of Federal Court if they do not provide "strict compliance to all the requirements and conditions outlined therein [the CRTC licenses for CKAV-FM]". Or, at the very least, they risk seriously harming their chances of success with this Appeal: the CRTC's compliance concerns would be justified.

I just turned on my radio and heard one violation already: the Edmonton transmitter is not on the air.

As an aside, the Federal Court of Appeals must be awfully hard up for help these days. The Calgary station is listed (once) as CKVM-FM-3 and the required off-air date is incorrectly listed (twice) as June 25, when it was, in fact, July 25th.
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Re: AVR Appeals CRTC Decision to Pull Their Licenses

Postby Toomas Losin » Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:11 pm

AVR should re-hire whoever was downloading and packaging the nightly OTR programs. The bean counters must love the absolute rock-bottom zero production costs currenly needed for those two hours of daily programming but the endless repeats must have caused the public to have tuned out by now.

I assume there's a way for the public to appeal to AVR about that but I just haven't bothered.
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