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CRTC updates commercial radio policy

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has updated its commercial radio policy. According to the organization, the changes are intended to better support Canadian artists and provide flexibility to help the radio industry remain competitive in a changing environment.

The new policy retains requirements for Canadian content and French-language vocal music. It also ensures that Canadian and French-language vocal music requirements can no longer be circumvented through montages of popular non-Canadian songs. Commercial stations must play at least five percent of songs from emerging Canadian artists. In addition, the organization will conduct a consultation regarding Canadian content development contributions by commercial radio broadcasters and ensure that funding reaches diverse initiatives.

The new policy also changes the criteria which determine if a song is Canadian and changes some content categories to broaden the number of songs that meet Canadian content requirements. The CRTC will also implement a new digital monitoring system and open music database intended to reduce regulatory burdens on broadcasters. Broadcasters will also be allowed to operate one more FM station in the same market, under certain conditions. The CRTC also expects commercial radio stations to include Indigenous music in their playlists and to report annually on the amount of Indigenous content aired.

“The radio industry is in a transition period and is competing with digital services for listeners,” said Ian Scott, chairperson and CEO of the CRTC. “A flexible approach will help it remain competitive, while ensuring that Canadians continue to have access to the content that serves their needs and interests. Radio is a very important medium to entertain, inform, discover new artists and ensure that local voices are heard.”

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