MONTREAL, Jan. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral Media Radio Inc. (Astral Radio),
a subsidiary of Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A/ACM.B), filed today with
the Federal Court of Appeal a motion seeking a leave to appeal the
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)'s
decision authorizing an exception to the application of the common
ownership policy with regard to radio stations in order to approve the
acquisition of Corus Entertainment Inc. assets in the Montréal market
by COGECO Inc.
With regard to the CRTC decision announced on December 17, Astral
believes that the CRTC erred in allowing COGECO to own and operate
three French-language FM radio stations (98,5 fm, CKOI, and Rythme FM)
in the Montréal market, whereas all other broadcasters in similarly
large markets, including Astral Radio, are limited to two FM stations
of the same language in order to comply with the common ownership
policy adopted by the CRTC in 1998, and reaffirmed three times since.
According to Astral Radio, this prejudicial decision puts an end to
nearly twelve years of consistent application of the policy and
disrupts the competitive equilibrium. "The sudden lack of
predictability in the application of the CRTC policy penalizes all
broadcasters which in the past decided not to pursue business
opportunities in order to abide by the policy as formulated and as
consistently applied," stated Claude Laflamme, Vice President,
Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Astral Radio.
In its motion, Astral Radio submits to the Federal Court of Appeal that
the CRTC erred in law by not following the standard regulatory
proceeding to review the common ownership policy, and acted in an
arbitrary and unreasonable manner; that the CRTC also neglected to
consider the possibility for COGECO to divest itself of one of its FM
music radio stations in order to abide by the current policy and
complete its acquisition.
Astral Radio is also asking the Court to suspend the execution of the
CRTC decision until final judgement on the appeal. The decision to
authorize the appeal before the Federal Court is expected over the
Astral is one of Canada's largest media companies. It operates several
media properties—pay and specialty television, radio, out-of-home
advertising and digital—among the most popular in the country. Astral
plays a central role in community life across the country by offering
diverse, rich, and vibrant programming that meets the tastes and needs
of consumers and advertisers. To learn more about Astral, visit astral.com.
SOURCE ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
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