5195 MS de la TORRE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5196 Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Staff, audience at large.
5197 My name is Magda de la Torre and I am the founder and President;
5198 To my right Manuel Canales, Director;
5199 And not appearing because of an illness, our new Executive Director, Heather
Ostertag, ex-President and CEO of FACTOR.
5200 We at Diversity Emerging Music Collective or, at DEMC, wish to acknowledge,
applaud and thank the Commissioners for the decision rendered regarding the initial decline
of Astral Media Application for an authority to change its effective control to BCE Inc.
5201 We agree that the 2012 proposal was not in the best interest of ALL Canadians.
5202 Our founder, Magda de la Torre, myself, started addressing the CRTC in 2006. Since
then minor changes have been established, i.e. Socan includes "other languages" instead of
only English and French.
5203 Only after our intervention and words during the Review of the Commercial Radio
Policy, Broadcasting Public Notice 2006-158, the Commission stopped considering the
Canadian Association of Ethnic Broadcasters (CAEB) and the Catalogue of Canadian Ethnic
Recordings, maplethnic.ca, as an eligible recipient of CCD funding:
"...the CRTC in view that in its present state, the catalogue, does not effectively support or
promote Canadian ethnic artists..."
5204 Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2007-332. See Appendix A 1 and 2.
5205 We have yet to achieve an official CRTC definition for Diversity. We at DEMC have
adopted the following definition about what diversity is. Please indulge me to share it with
"Diversity is about accessing all the perspectives, experiences, lifestyles and cultures that
we collectively possess throughout the provinces and territories of Canada.
At the collective, we value, respect, support and celebrate the diversity that exists within
the fabric of Canada through the support of culturally diverse artists and their works.
We believe that through the embracing and celebration of diversity, we support the cultural
development of Canada and its citizens and how we are perceived and interact globally."
5206 In simple terms we are all unique and diverse individuals.
5207 In reviewing the proposal and some of the interventions filed for this second
application, we recognize, appreciate and respect the decisions and recommendations of
such organizations as CIMA and CMPA.
5208 They have put forward a set of recommendations that would benefit their respective
members for both the music and film industries.
5209 However, we at DEMC believe that the process has not taken into consideration the
needs of all Canadians. Aside from the significant consolidation and vertical integration
monopoly, this transaction creates for an already large media giant.
5210 Nowhere in this process has there been a real and significant consideration given to
the over 20,000 Canadian artists/content creators that we currently represent. And, I may
add, these are only a small part of the thousands of other Canadian content creators out
there waiting for an opportunity.
5211 The processes that are being proposed and the on-going support to existing
organizations such as RadioStarmaker, FACTOR and Musicaction do not take into
consideration these struggling Canadian independent diverse and emerging artists that have
not yet achieved a sales level which allows them the opportunity to even apply for financial
support through existing and proposed initiatives.
5212 So I ask you this question: How are these Canadian talented individuals expected to
compete when there is no consideration given to developing at the very grass roots level?
Our future talent needs to be supported even before they reach what we consider to be an
arbitrary sales plateau, yet none exists.
5213 Technology is changing the face of how cultural industries function and we at DEMC
are committed to assist the fostering and developing of all Canadians regardless of their
sales track record.
We would like to see consideration given to all Canadians, not just a selected few that
already benefit from the funding that is currently available.
5214 Where do we find support for something new, innovative or different in this
submission? We do not believe that the consultative process that has led to this re-
submission has included nor embraced what is in the best interests of all Canadians.
5215 It is our intention to provide support that goes hand in hand with mentorships to
ensure that there is a constant development, sustainability, education and training
opportunities accessible to all Canadians.
5216 Why is there no consideration to support these Canadian citizens?
5217 We feel that Astral and BCE reflected the emerging artist definition in Broadcasting
Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-316 but that they have completely ignored the 20,000
Canadian artists we represent at DEMC, although in their first application, Bell/Astral
represented themselves on the record as a willing collaborator and provider of tangible
benefits to these Canadian diverse independent content creators that we represent.
5218 In the Bell Media Emerging Artist Development Program, Bell is only committing in
helping a mere five artists per year. See Appendix B and C.
5219 Mr. Chairman, in the Canadian Media Production Association's Prime Time 2013
Conference, you said, and I quote:
"Early indications suggest that even more will be spent on Canadian programming in 2012-
2013. The current projection is that spending by Canadian broadcasters will surpass $3
billion for the first time."
5220 Hopefully some funds will be allotted by all broadcasters to the diverse emerging
artists we represent. See Appendix 'D'.
5221 We are very pleased with the upcoming CRTC's "Create" plan for 2013 where the
following issues will be addressed; Public Consultation on Television, Commercial Radio
Policy, Cultural Diversity Policy, Ethnic Broadcasting Policy, Ethnic Radio Licensing and,
lastly, the Tangible Benefits Policy; and by the timeline positioning in the plan, it seems
before dealing with the BCE/Astral merger.
Mr. Chairman, during last year's hearing of Bell/Astral you said in comment to Mr.
Canales' intervention; I quote:
"Thank you very much, Mr. Canales.
You may not have had the opportunity to see, but the Commission just last week published
its three-year plan. A number of the issues you raise are very much linked to one of the
activities we're planning shortly, and that's to review some of our approach to diversity, and
some of those broader policy issues that you are raising could also find its way to that
5222 See Appendix 'E'.
5223 If the timeline positioning does not describe the order, we therefore respectfully
request that this Bell/Astral acquisition application/decision be put on hold, or a Bell/Astral
undertaking be established and/or a condition of licence until such time as a frank and open
discussion is commissioned, and the above-named CRTC Public Consultations are finalized,
in order to ensure that the benefits to be paid out from this unprecedented transaction, if
approved, would support retroactively a significantly greater number of Canadians than the
ones currently being considered.
5224 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, the time and opportunity to create real change and
enhance the opportunities to all Canadian content creators is now.
5225 In closing, we urge the Commission to continue on with the attitude of what is best
for all Canadians and require Astral Media Inc. and BCE to create benefits that protect not
only a few, but foster initiatives that are in the best interest of all Canadians.
5226 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, once more, thank you for your consideration to all
Canadian content creators and, as promised before, we will continue coming back to voice
5227 Thank you.
5228 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that presentation.
5229 Commissioner Menzies will have a few questions for you.
5230 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you very much.
5231 I am curious about your definition of diversity because you want consideration given
to all Canadians and I think we generally work very hard to give consideration to all the
points of view that are presented to us. But it's difficult for me to understand how we would
come up with decisions that actually -- well, considering all those points of view could
actually serve all of them, for instance, in this.
5232 Depending on which decision we make it will affect employees of Bell, Astral,
Eastlink, Cogeco, all differently. Some will be happy, some won't be. Some might be a little
happy and some might be very angry. Some might be a little angry and some might be --
you know what I mean?
5233 So we can consider everyone but providing any quality of outcome, I think, is very
difficult. So help me understand your definition of diversity.
5234 MS de la TORRE: Well, like I mentioned before and you can see in the records, I've
been coming to speak to the CRTC since early 2006.
5235 And in the beginning I was very much into the ethnic diversity, which coming to the
CRTC and hearing you, seeing everything what's happening, reading the other people's
point of view because there are 20,000 points of view; you have to hear them all, analyze
and then see where you go.
5236 I think this definition takes me and anyone that hears me, away from the ethnic
part. But that doesn't mean that they don't exist. And that doesn't mean that they should
have a voice, especially in places like Toronto and Vancouver, that the surrounding people
around all the broadcasters happens to be almost 50 or more percentages of that diversity.
5237 That doesn't mean speaking Chinese, speaking -- that's not what I mean. What I
mean is that at least recognize that we exist in every way. In television they have done a
wonderful job because this is visual. In radio it's not visual.
5238 Besides not being visual CAB never did a study on how to help in radio. CAB doesn't
exist. CAB used to very small, word by word move forward and try to get something for
diversity, but it doesn't exist anymore.
5239 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So just help me. I'm struggling with that a little bit,
because I was at the opening of a new ethnic radio station in Calgary last week and --
5240 MS de la TORRE: I wasn't there.
5241 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: No, I know.
5242 But it was very interesting because it launched with its launch time. It played "O
Canada" and then the next thing it did was prayers. There was an imam there. There was a
Buddhist monk there. There was a Sikh priest there. There was somebody from the Hindu
faith, somebody from the Baha'i, somebody from the Punjabi Christian Centre and that sort
of stuff. Hindi was being spoken, Punjabi was being spoken very poorly by me, and
5243 I was trying to think. I'm trying to -- and I know from a Toronto hearing a year ago
there were eight or nine ethnic radio stations in Toronto between the ethnic and the public
and the community. That's almost half the spectrum and Toronto was dedicated to that.
5244 So I'm trying to understand where the failure is, the structural failure is that you're
trying to point to.
5245 MS de la TORRE: Okay. There is ethnics and ethnic and ethnics. They are different
like first generation, third, second, fourth generations. Like, it has evolutioned ever since we
have been here.
5246 In the beginning if you heard somebody talk Spanish you'll say, "Oh, somebody is
talking my language". Now, you hear it everywhere so that doesn't make a difference.
5247 Where it makes a difference is that when you read the Toronto Star, when you read
the Globe & Mail, you see things in talking about diversity or they guide you or they
highlight something good and bad. But radio doesn't do anything for us. It's very hard if
they don't even acknowledge the fact that we're surrounded.
5248 When there is opportunities like this one that it's unprecedented they don't try and
help this artist that because of sometimes language, sometimes just because they don't
know when they're Canadian born from a Canadian family, but they haven't reached this
2,000 sales of album. Nobody helps them.
5249 Maybe I'm a crusader and if you bring me somebody that needs me, that's the
person I help.
5250 I had enormous events together with Caribana. I was on the other side. It was over
1,500 people. Like that, being there, talking to them, seeing what they go through it tells
me, you know, there is something wrong.
5251 And if you can read -- it's a lot because I sent a lot of papers -- from 2006 to now,
2013, my outlook had changed so much and the people around me had seen this. We're not
talking now about the Latino, Chinese, Muslim. No, we're talking simply about the diverse
artist, and we're all diverse somehow or other because if we sing -- if we sing like a country
and we're with people that dance salsa, they're diverse.
5252 So that person with less than 2,000 records sold needs help.
5253 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, I understand. Thank you very much for your
5254 MS de la TORRE: Okay.
5255 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions. Thank you.
5256 MS de la TORRE: Thank you.
Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-310
Route reference: 2013-106
Additional reference: 2013-106-1
Ottawa, 27 June 2013
Astral Media inc. and its licensed subsidiaries
244. SPACQ and ADISQ noted that emerging artists exist in all genres of music,
regardless of radio formats. They expressed the view that BCE’s commitment to
devote 25% of francophone airplay to emerging artists should not be limited to the
NRJ stations, but extend to all of Astral’s stations in Quebec, or at least to the
Rouge FM stations. They also expressed the view that BCE should provide
monthly reports on emerging artist airplay, including the selections played, the
time when they were played and the diversity of artists played. They submitted
that those reports should be made public.
245. The CCMIA encouraged BCE to expand its Emerging Indie Artist Initiative to
include more than two artists per month, and to increase the number of formats for
this initiative. It noted that there are many talented emerging independent artists in
the Country and Rock genres, for instance, who would also greatly benefit from
246. It further noted that both the Emerging Indie Artist Initiative and BCE’s
commitment to devote 25% of airplay to emerging Canadian artists will be most
effective if the Canadian artists at the heart of these initiatives are aired and
promoted during times of highest listening. The CCMIA therefore strongly encouraged BCE to program
emerging Canadian artists during these times and
avoid as much as possible programming emerging artists during those airtimes
that traditionally experience low listening. SPACQ and ADISQ shared this view.
247. Diversity Emerging Music Collective argued that the initiative does not take into
account the diversity of emerging artists.
Commission’s analysis and decisions
248. The Commission is of the view that specific commitments to provide airplay for
and to promote emerging Canadian artists and their music are significant elements
to consider in assessing the quality of applications for new broadcasting licences
during competitive processes and for transfers of ownership and control.
249. In regard to English-language stations, the Commission notes that Astral and
BCE’s proposal to devote 25% of Canadian musical content to emerging artists
represents a base minimum. In regard to French-language stations, Astral and
BCE’s proposal to devote 25% of FVM to emerging artists represents a slight
improvement to the industry average. The Commission notes their commitments
but considers that there is room for improvement.
250. As stated above, the Commission directed BCE to file a revised tangible benefits
proposal that would result in increased financial support to emerging artists and
permit the production of additional musical content and spoken word content
devoted to the promotion of Canadian artists, including emerging artists. The
Commission is of the view that the combined BCE/Astral will be in a unique
position to support this increased production with significant promotional efforts
251. In this regard, the Commission directs BCE to file a yearly report on the Bell
Media Indie Artists Initiative and on emerging artist airplay commitments. The
information that the licensee should include in its report is set out in Appendix 5
to this decision.