CRTC approves sale of Corus radio stations

Cogeco commits to establishing a new regional news agency to provide content for the local stations.

The CRTC has approved Cogeco’s acquisition of the 11 Quebec radio stations held by Corus.

In its summary of the approval, the CRTC said that the deal will ‘ensure the maintenance and diversity of information and public affairs programming in Montreal and the regions, which will benefit the entire broadcasting system in Quebec.’

However, the CRTC did order Cogeco to sell Sherbrooke radio station CKOY-FM, as well as Quebec City stations CJEC-FM and CFEL-FM. Cogeco had applied to turn CKOY into a rebroadcaster for CKAC-AM in Montreal, but the CRTC ruled that the transformation would result in the loss of a local voice for the region. The Quebec City stations must also be sold to conform to concentration of ownership regulations.

The CRTC allowed Cogeco a common-ownership exception in Montreal, allowing the broadcaster to have three stations in that market, stating that ‘forms a package of inextricably linked elements justifying the requested exception.’

In order to preserve local voice and coverage for Quebeckers, Cogeco has committed to establishing a new news organization called Cogeco Nouvelles. The agency will feed ‘talk radio content geared toward information and public affairs,’ allowing local stations to focus on covering news in their own area, the report said.

Stations affected by the transaction include: Montreal French (CKOI 96.9, 98.5, CKAC Sports – including CKAC’s digital licence), Montreal English (The Q 92.5), Quebec City (102.9 Souvenirs Garantis, CKOI 102.1), Gatineau (104.7 Souvenirs Garantis), Sherbrooke (107.7 Souvenirs Garantis, CKOI 104.5), Trois-Rivières (106.9 Souvenirs Garantis) and St-Jérôme (CIME 103.9).

Related stories: Corus to sell radio stations to Cogeco