CRTC revokes Aboriginal Voices Radio license over non-compliance

Julien Gignac
APTN National News
OTTAWA – The Canada Radio Telecommunications Commission rescinded the licenses of the Aboriginal Voices Radio Network Thursday.

In a release, the CRTC said that “AVR has been found in repeated non-compliance with various obligations, including the failure to file annual returns, the submission of incomplete logger tapes and non-compliance with various programming obligations.”

These flaws violate Radio Regulations, 1986.

As a result, “It appears to the commission that AVR is not providing the quality service it proposed and that Aboriginal people in Canada’s urban centres are not being well served as a result,” reads the release.

Part of the its license requires the broadcaster to implement 25 per cent of local programming in its newscasts. This condition was not met.

APTN supports the CRTC’s decision but has made demands of the regulator.

“From our perspective as an Aboriginal entity, our big concern was that our communities weren’t getting served.” said APTN CEO Jean Larose. “We support the decision and believe the CRTC made the right call. They gave them many chances, many opportunities over the years to correct the situation, but unfortunately nothing was improving.”

The commission discovered that the radio station provided insufficient daily local newscasts for markets in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

According to the release, its Ottawa station has been off-air since the spring or summer of 2014.

In a 2013 update, AVR specified that they had abandoned premises in Ottawa and Vancouver to cut costs.

The 2014 annual update showed that five employees ran all AVR operations due to lay-offs.

Part of the condition of the license required the AVR to broadcast “enriched” spoken word in Vancouver and Calgary. This was not met either.

APTN is “insistent” that the CRTC maintain a true national radio network dedicated to covering Indigenous affairs, said Larose.

“APTN believes there are opportunities for some of the smaller native broadcasting entities to band together,” he said. “APTN would support that. We would partner with them, and we believe that using our news service we could provide national news at a radio level while at the same time creating programming that is truly reflective of our communities in those major urban markets.”

Larose said that APTN is asking the CRTC to reserve the now free radio frequencies for Aboriginal content.

[email protected]