Rogers puts CRTC on blast in application to revoke CIWW Ottawa licence

Rogers Sports & Media blasts the CRTC in its application to revoke its licence for CIWW Ottawa, saying the commission’s lack of flexibility, outdated policy, and moratorium on applications related to radio undertakings are exacerbating radio’s challenges.

The CRTC published its formal revocation this week. Rogers announced it was turning in the licence on Oct. 26, the same day it shuttered its CityNews radio operations in the Capital Region, citing low audiences, revenue declines and a restrictive regulatory environment for AM radio.

Since December 2020, the company had been simulcasting programming from CityNews  1310 (CIWW-AM) on the FM frequency formerly used by Country 101.1 (CKBY-FM). Accordingly, Country 92.3 debuted on CJET-FM in place of the JACK FM brand.

While simulcasting AM on FM is in contravention of current CRTC policy, Rogers had asked the commission to grant an exception until a full review of the regulation could be conducted.  

Unfortunately, the regulatory framework did not provide us with the tools to experiment and innovate without facing an untenable level of scrutiny and evaluation that we can ill afford given the competitive environment in which we are operating,” wrote Susan Wheeler, Vice President, B2B Distribution & Regulatory, in Rogers’ application. For these reasons, we urge the Commission to prioritize the review of the Regulations impacting AM radio including the provisions related to simulcasting and the operation of a specialty format. These rules must be relaxed to ensure a viable path forward for AM news content on the FM band, which represents the only way to maintain audiences to local terrestrial radio and support our ability to deliver local news.”

“Rogers is deeply disappointed that the Commission chose not to amend its simulcast policy in its recent Commercial Radio Policy Review and failed to make other changes to outdated radio regulations that no longer support AM stations like CIWW,” continued Wheeler. “We remain concerned that, without a modernized and flexible approach, the future of other AM stations is at risk. We again urge the Commission to prioritize its review of the rules impacting AM radio stations and all rules preventing Canadian radio stations from exploring creative ways to remain relevant with their audiences and financially viable.”

While CJET-FM (101.1) Smiths Falls has reverted to its former Country format and reclaimed its historic call letters CKBY-FM, 92.3 (CJET-FM) is set to also carry a Country format, distinct from CKBY-FM, according to the application. The station is currently airing a Santa Radio Christmas music format. 


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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessenhttps://broadcastdialogue.com
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email - corrections@broadcastdialogue.com

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