August 24, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)

LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

When the house rose at one o'clock I had been dealing with the highhanded methods, or what I termed the highhanded methods, of the C.B.C. in dealing w'ith appeals which came before them from private stations. I am going to repeat what I said, because I think it is worth repeating. I was pointing out that when the C.B.C. was set up, not a man in this House of Commons ever visualized that it would ever have or obtain the control and authority it has to-day.
I have maintained that we are acting dangerously for our democracy in that we are taking a heritage of the people, and not making the board responsible to the people. We have in fact set up a board which is above the people themselves. I had mentioned that perhaps it was unfortunate that I appeared before the board on behalf of the local station in the city of New Westminster-at least that is my view, until I get a better answer as to why they refused the application. Until I get that answer I will stay by the statement I am now making. Be that as it may, the residents in the Fraser valley, twenty miles or more out from the city of New Westminster, found that this radio station was practically blacked out at night time. They have a frequency of 1230 on the dial, and because these people live close to the boundary line the frequencies allowed United States stations come in, with the result that radio programmes presented
over CKNW after six o'clock at night are not heard twenty miles away-in fact sometimes only sixteen miles-from the radio station.
The owner applied for a change in that frequency. To prove what I am saying regarding the high-handedness of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, may I point out that there are only two stations in British Columbia which have a frequency of 1230 on the dial, and 250 watt power. The other station is some 600 miles away, and conditions are such at that point that, even if the station in Prince George had 5,000 or 10,000 watts, we in the valley and in Vancouver and New Westminster would not hear the Prince George station. That is well known, because I believe even the Vancouver station, with over 5,000 watt power, is not heard beyond the mountains. Prince George is just through the mountains so that their radio station with a low power of 250 watts, and 1230 on the dial covers only a small district around Prince George. As I say there could be no reason at all for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to reject the application made by the local station in New Westminster to change the frequency because it was not interfering with, nor would it interfere with, any other station in British Columbia. Oh, yes; it did interfere with some of the larger stations who, shall I say, became a little bit jealous because the station for which the licence was granted in New Westminster soon became one of the most popular stations in the Vancouver-New Westminster area. I do not know whether the committee studied what I am going to mention, but I have looked through the report and I cannot find mention of it anywhere. I am subject to correction, of course. I cannot find where they discussed whether the C.B.C. was as popular, or discussed its popularity as compared with that of private stations.
Let me tell you why I am asking that question. I have here-and private individuals are not supposed to have them be'cause they are given only to radio stations-a publication put out by a firm in Toronto called Eric Hayes Limited. This company goes out and take surveys, similar to gallup polls, among radio listeners. For instance, they telephone to housewives and say, "Are you listening to the radio?" Mostly the reply will be "Yes". The next question asked is, "What station are you listening to, and what programme?" With this information they turn out a report each week to every private radio station. This report, which I hold in my hand, shows the following, that the programmes of the C.B.C. have the least number

Radio Broadcasting
of listeners in the New Westminster-Van-couver area, or a lesser number than those of the private stations. I do not know whether the committee discussed that matter or that phase of it. But if they did not, I suggest that when the committee meets next year they certainly should take it up, and try to get an opinion on the question whether C.B.C. programmes hold a place in the public life and confidence of our people as favourably as that held by private stations.

Topic:   RADIO BROADCASTING ACT
Subtopic:   CORPORATION TO RECEIVE LICENCE FEES- ADVANCES ON ACCOUNT OF CAPITAL EXPENDITURES
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