Blog post from Fagstein.
In 2013, when Bell Media acquired Astral Media, it made a promise: In exchange for keeping TSN 690 as a fourth English Montreal radio station, one more than what would usually be permitted under the CRTC’s common ownership policy, it would commit to keeping the station running as a sports talk station, a format that has earned CKGM a small but loyal audience over the previous decade.
On the last day of the CRTC hearing on the (second) application to acquire Astral , Bell also agreed to a commitment, proposed by commission chairperson Jean-Pierre Blais, that TSN 690 maintain its 96 hours a week of local programming:
When the CRTC approved the sale , in which Bell would acquire CJAD, Virgin Radio 95.9 and CHOM 97.7 from Astral, it required Bell to change TSN 690’s licence to impose requirements including that local programming quota (which is not standard for AM radio stations). As of January 2014, TSN 690 has had the requirement as part of its licence .7775 THE CHAIRPERSON (Jean-Pierre Blais): Okay.
7776 So now I’m going to go even further down the road of analysis and we are obviously in the option of an approval and then there are some issues that we need to tidy up.
7777 On CKGM, how many hours of local programming are there? Could somebody give me that?
7778 MR. GORDON (Chris Gordon, head of radio and local stations for Bell Media): I believe it’s 96 hours of local programming.
7779 THE CHAIRPERSON: And would you be able to accept — how would you react if we imposed that as a condition of license on that service?
7780 MR. GORDON: We would accept.
7781 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
With the licence up for renewal (it was supposed to expire in August, but the CRTC has pushed that to Feb. 28 ), Bell has decided the 96-hour requirement is too onerous and wants it reduced.