Latest info suggests CICR’s broadcast days may be numbered

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It appears that Parrsboro, Nova Scotia’s 50-watt community radio station, operated by the Parrsboro Radio Society (PRS), will need a miracle to survive.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has confirmed that all campus/community radio stations must report their bingo revenues and expenses as part of their annual financial reports.

While making it clear that she was not speaking specifically about CICR, which is scheduled for a licence renewal hearing on September 7, Patricia Valladao, a spokeswoman for the CRTC, said that in general, all community stations must file bingo revenues and expenses each November as part of their annual returns.

A PRS document posted on the CRTC website shows that PRS reported only declining advertising revenue for the last three years and that its financial reports were filed with the CRTC in March, months after the November 30th deadline for the latest report and more than a year late for the two earlier ones.

Robinson responds

When reached by telephone this week, station manager Ross Robinson said there was no need to file bingo revenues and expenses with the CRTC because bingo is licensed under provincial regulations and that, in any case, bingo revenue is considered a donation.

“Why do you want to know this anyway?” he asked.

When I answered that I was writing about the station’s licence renewal application, Robinson said, “Well please don’t. Goodbye.” He then hung up. Our entire conversation lasted less than a minute.

On June 29th, when it posted a notice that CICR’s licence renewal application would be heard on September 7, the CRTC again expressed concern about the station’s failure to file complete financial returns.

It also referred to apparent non-compliance with regulations that require the PRS to provide requested program logs, tapes and other information.

“Should the Commission once again find the licensee in non-compliance, this would be the second consecutive licence term in which CICR-FM has been found in non-compliance with its regulatory requirements,” the CRTC notice reads.

“Given this recurrence of non-compliance and the apparent lack of cooperation by the licensee following repeated correspondence, the Commission has concerns regarding the licensee’s ability and commitment to operate the station in a compliant manner.”

After the station’s first, full-time licence expired on August 31, 2015, the CRTC gave the PRS a couple of years to fix things.

However, a progress report filed with the Commission in March by PRS board member Alain Couture showed that none of the issues raised by the CRTC had been dealt with.

For my earlier report on this, click here.

If the CRTC follows its usual procedures, it will issue a decision on CICR’s licence renewal application within about two months after its September hearing.

And, if the Commission does decide to revoke CICR’s broadcasting licence, it will be only the second time in recent memory that a campus/community station has been ordered to turn off its transmitter.

Final editorial note: Judging by comments on Facebook, some CICR listeners blame me and other former volunteers for the station’s woes, but in fairness, those of us who have criticized PRS in the past have not been anywhere near the station for more than two years during which the PRS has had ample time to meet CRTC requirements. It appears that PRS will now have to face the consequences of its failure to do so.

About Bruce Wark

Bruce Wark is a freelance journalist and retired journalism professor who lives in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. He taught the history and ethics of journalism at the University of King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia for 15 years. Before that, he worked for 19 years at CBC Radio news serving as a producer in charge of such network programs as World at Six, World Report and The House. He also produced Media File, a national program that looked critically at the performance of the news media. Along the way, Wark also worked as CBC Radio's legislative reporter in Ontario and as its National Reporter in Canada's Maritime provinces.
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One Response to

Latest info suggests CICR’s broadcast days may be numbered

  1. Sandy Graham says:

    Fine report, Bruce! The powers that be, though, at Parrsboro Community Radio resisted heeding the guidance and advice of various sources, including a lawyer, a Supreme Court Judge (Robert Wright), and various volunteers and others who “banged their heads against the wall” in trying to improve programming, governance, accountability and transparency.

    This of course includes yourself, with decades of experience in radio programming, producing and reporting. But you would think they would heed the warnings of the CRTC regarding compliance. Was Parrsboro Radio hoping to pull the wool over their eyes?!

    You can lead a horse to water . . .

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