In a broadcast decision handed down today, the CRTC has approved an application by Elliot Kerr to operate an English-language commercial AM radio station in Mississauga, Ontario.

In his application, Mr. Kerr said the new station would offer a news/talk format dedicated to Mississauga. The station would provide residents with local news and information, including coverage of city council, local business issues, and community related political and social events.

The station would also provide sports, weather and traffic, as well as a community forum for public discourse and debate during its mid-morning program Mississauga Voices.

Kerr would broadcast 126 hours of spoken word programming each broadcast week, of which at least 101 hours would be local. A maximum of 25 hours would be automated programming. Programming would include 28.5 hours of structured newscasts and news programs per broadcast week, 80% of which would focus on local Mississauga news stories.

The new station will operate at 960 AM with a transmitter power of 2,000 watts daytime and 280 watts night time. A callsign and launch date has yet to be announced.

Opposition to the station was limited. The federal regulator received one comment from Astral Media which said the application submitted by Mr. Kerr had mischaracterized the municipality of Mississauga as an underserved and distinct market within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Astral argued that it is impossible to separate each GTA community from its surrounding cities and/or Toronto itself as these communities operate, in part, as one large market.

Kerr countered that Astral had ignored the nature of the proposed service in terms of signal coverage, programming orientation and advertising sales. Kerr stated that the signal contours of the proposed station have been deliberately designed so as not to provide primary coverage of the City of Toronto. Instead, the coverage area of the station has been confined to the City of Mississauga. Additionally, the night time signal will have some limitations within the City of Mississauga itself due to protection requirements. Furthermore, Kerr submitted that its news/talk programming schedule would focus on news and stories from the City of Mississauga, not Toronto. The applicant further noted that its business model is based on generating advertising sales from Mississauga advertisers, not Toronto advertisers.

Lastly, Kerr argued that it is abundantly clear from the record that the proposed station would have no impact on incumbent Toronto stations given that none of the incumbent licensees, including Astral, intervened in opposition. Kerr submitted that this lack of opposition, combined with the fact that the station’s signal would not provide reliable coverage in the City of Toronto, establishes beyond any doubt that the new station would not have an impact on Toronto stations.

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