In a surprising broadcast decision handed down today, the CRTC has denied an application which would enable radio station CJOY in Guelph to move from the AM band to the FM band.

Corus owned CJOY, which currently operates Oldies music station on 1460 AM, had requested to operate a 9,500 watt station at 95.7 FM.

The decision to turn down CJOY's request to move to the FM band was surprising because the CRTC has virtually rubber stamped all similar requests over the last few years.

The federal regulator said it turned down the request because of the feds "common ownership policy" which restricts the number of radio stations that can be owned by one company or individual market.

In markets with fewer than eight commercial radio stations, broadcast regulations forbid a person or company to own or control more than three radio stations with a maximum of two stations in any one frequency band.

In addition to CJOY, Corus currently operates three FM stations within the contours of the Guelph market including CIMJ-FM Guelph and CJDV-FM in the adjacent city of Cambridge. Further, as a function of its strong signal, CING-FM Hamilton also enters the Guelph market.

The result is that Corus already exceeds the three station limit for total AM and FM stations as well as the limit of two stations in any one frequency band set out in the common ownership policy. Approval of the current application would add a fourth Corus FM station to the market.

Durham Radio, which intervened in proceedings, noted that eight Corus stations from Guelph, Kitchener/Cambridge, Hamilton and Toronto receive notable shares of tuning in Guelph. These include not only the four stations mentioned but also other Corus stations that put less powerful signals into the market and are still receivable.

Read the complete decision below and discuss in Digital Home's Canadian AM/FM radio discussion forum.