The Parrsboro Radio Society (PRS) convened its first members’ meeting yesterday since it became apparent on May 15 that the CRTC may not renew CICR’s broadcasting licence, but no one raised the issue, not even in passing. (See earlier coverage.)
Instead, facilitator Mary-Irene Parker asked members to suggest wording that could be included in a PRS statement of values, a mission statement and a vision statement. Parker said the statements would be used in drafting a new set of bylaws. She did not say so explicitly, but it appears the board of directors has scrapped the revised bylaws it presented at the PRS annual general meeting on May 2.
Judging by yesterday’s meeting, the CRTC’s warning that the PRS may not be meeting its regulatory obligations and that it may not be granted licence renewal, does not seem to worry the PRS board of directors.
When it issued its call for public comments in mid-May, the CRTC said: “The Commission is gravely concerned by the inadequacy of the responses provided by the licensee to its requests for information. These answers are an important indicator of whether the licensee has the required ability and knowledge to comply with the regulatory obligations in the future.”
The CRTC statement was an apparent reference to two written exchanges on February 11 and February 18, 2015 between the Commission and PRS board member Ross Robinson. The Commission made those exchanges public on the same day it called for comments on the renewal of CICR’s licence which expires on August 31.
The exchanges show that the CRTC is concerned about various issues including the PRS failure to file proper and timely financial information as well as its failure to file logger tapes and program logs when asked to do so. The exchanges also show that the CRTC is concerned about diversity in CICR’s programming, its handling of complaints and its efforts to recruit volunteers.
In both exchanges, the CRTC raises the possibility that it may grant a short-term licence renewal or impose other sanctions including licence suspension or revocation of the licence. Here’s the fullest one from the exchange on February 18:
CRTC: Please comment on the possibility of a short-term renewal for CICR-FM, in accordance with Broadcasting Information Bulletin CRTC 2014-608, should you be found in non-compliance with section 9(2) of the Regulations. Please note that the sanction could be stronger than a short-term renewal for major instances of non-compliance, such as: imposition of conditions of licence, mandatory orders, non-renewal, suspension, or revocation of the licence, requiring licensees to broadcast an announcement regarding their non-compliance, as set out in the appendix to this information bulletin.
Ross Robinson: a short-term license for our community would probably not work we have been serving our community since 2008 seven days a week 365 days a year getting out their public service announcements, Interviews as well as covering some school programs and events to ensure that all members of our community including those unable to attend such events have access. The loss of Interaction with the community via radio media bingo each week would cause much sadness for our community where in some cases this can be the only means of entertainment. CICR has letters of support which will be attached from the Town of Parrsboro, the District Board of Trade, The Ships company theater as well as the Lions Club and many other individuals who rely on our community radio to meet the media needs of their businesses. Additionally, we have the support of our local MLA Jamie Bailey as well as our MP Scott Armstrong.
No history, please
During yesterday’s meeting, Mary-Irene Parker urged members not to raise issues concerning the history of the radio station, but to look ahead, going forward. Unfortunately, the CRTC is clearly looking at the history of the last seven years, especially issues of non-compliance with regulations and policies. In the end, commissioners will weigh those issues and decide the shape of CICR’s future or even if it has one.