Canada’s radio regulator has muted a Kelowna classic rock station’s bid to reach ears here.
Newcap Radio applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission earlier this year to change the “contours” of its K96.3 FM broadcast area so it could be heard in Penticton.
The proposed change, ostensibly to improve signal reception in West Kelowna, would have been accomplished by moving the K96.3 transmitter onto an antenna shared with sister station Country 100.7 FM atop Okanagan Mountain.
But in a decision released Wednesday, the CRTC ruled against the move, primarily because it would have amounted to granting a new licence without following due process.
“We are disappointed with the decision,” Dallas Gray, general manager for Newcap Radio Okanagan, said in an email, adding the company has no plans to pursue the matter further.
According to the CRTC decision, Newcap argued Penticton “lacks format diversity and that approval of its application would provide a new format to the area and repatriate listeners who tune to classic rock via satellite radio.”
It also claimed that increasing the coverage area of K96.3 would “bring the station to a level of profitability that would ensure continued service to Kelowna.”
Three competing radio companies fought to block the application, partly on the grounds it would lead to the “regionalization” of K96.3 programming “at the expense of local service to Kelowna, resulting in a negative financial impact on other Kelowna FM stations.”
The intervenors also argued the application would “compromise the integrity” of the CRTC licensing process by introducing a new radio station in Penticton through a “technical amendment for an existing station.”
All of those arguments were upheld by the CRTC.
“The commission was of the view that Newcap’s proposal was not designed to improve service to the Kelowna area but rather to expand (K96.3’s) service area to include Penticton,” it said in the decision.
“Approval of the technical change would therefore have been akin to granting Newcap a new service for Penticton without the competitive process that would normally apply.”
The CRTC was also concerned that allowing K96.3 to enter the Penticton market “could serve to draw revenue away from Penticton stations.”