Backgrounder - A history of broadcasting advocacy

Throughout the 1980’s CIMA (known as CIRPA at that time) found itself increasingly involved in the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearings and consultations with regard to Canadian content on radio and television.

It intervened on many occasions at individual licence renewals to protect the interests of its members, particularly in the area of Canadian content (Cancon).

In the early ‘90’s CIMA’s level of involvement at the Commission increased yet again. In 1990 CIMA conducted research and submitted a detailed intervention at hearings on the future of FM Radio.

Our efforts resulted in Canadian content levels on FM radio being increased to 30% for all private radio stations. The same year we conducted research and, at our appearance at the CBC hearing, made the case for Cancon on CBC radio to increase to 50%. The Commission agreed and decided in our favour.

Needless to say, both resulted in increased performances and earnings, not just for CIMA members but also to the benefit of the entire Canadian cultural community and Canadian entrepreneurs as a whole.

Through 1993 and 1994, after the CRTC initially approved digital cable radio channels, CIMA was in the forefront of an industry-wide coalition which, with the unanimous support of all the national and provincial music trade associations, successfully appealed the first decision to Cabinet.

CIMA was also subsequently a key player in the effort to persuade the Commission to rescind the decision to license these services.

The saga of pay audio licensing continued for three more years as CIMA played a lead role in industry objections to Commission decisions that resulted in a further successful appeal to Cabinet in early 1996 and a subsequent further appeal being denied in late 1996, but with considerable changes in the applications having occurred over the years from the original licence.

Following a review of Canadian Talent Development (CTD) initiatives stipulations in early 1996, the Commission announced in the fall that it would reduce the requirements for CTD contributions from $7 million to $1.8 million annually. CIMA appealed this decision to Cabinet and in December the decision was returned to the Commission for review.

In mid-1997 the Commission held what was arguably the most important hearing of the decade – the review of radio.

CIMA conducted wide-ranging and detailed research that addressed a variety of issues and presented a major brief to the Commission. It also played a key role at the December 1998 hearings.

In April 1998 the Commission announced its decision which contained two major victories for CIMA with the increase of Canadian content to 35% from 30% and with the obligation of stations selling under the related ownership criteria to contribute 6% of each sale for profitable stations to funding to assist the development of the Canadian music industry.