The CRTC Wants You to Define an Emerging Artist

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The extent to which commercial radio stations in Canada expose the music of emerging Canadian artists has been a hot topic of discussion for over a decade, most extensively during the two most recent reviews of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Commercial Radio policy.

In 2006, as a result of its commercial radio policy review, the federal regulator announced that radio licensees would now be asked to make specific commitments to provide airplay for and to promote emerging Canadian artists.

However, the Commission declined to define “an emerging Canadian artist.” As well, no timeline was set for the introduction of the category.

However, the CRTC had concluded that Canada’s commercial radio broadcasters should make commitments to broadcast selections by emerging Canadian artists and to promote such artists in their applications for new licenses, license renewals and transfers of ownership or control of radio stations. The Commission might then decide to impose these as conditions of license following the public process.

In their 2007 report on overhauling the regulatory framework for Canadian broadcasting services, Laurence Dunbar and Christian Leblanc, two leading broadcasting lawyers, characterized the Commission’s expectation that roadcasters provide more support to emerging Canadian artists as "a commendable and appropriate way to strengthen Canadian musical culture.”

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters, however, characterized the recommendations by Dunbar and Leblanc in its 337-page report as an assault on he foundation of Canadian broadcasting.

However, the CRTC is now calling for comments on the definition of emerging Canadian artists on commercial radio. The deadline for filing written comments is Apr. 25, 2008. The Commission then invites intervenors to file replies to any of the comments submitted in the first stage of the process. Parties will have until May 10, 2008 to do so.

To assist intervenors, the Commission has published the research report “Emerging Canadian Artists on Commercial Radio” which details the broadcasting f the music of emerging artists according to nine definitions of the term that are based on current music industry charts.

The report is available on the Commission’s web site at

For the study, the CRTC obtained play lists from 20 French-language and 85 English-language stations containing the music broadcast during the week of April 15-21 2007 from 6 a.m. to midnight. These were supplemented by play list information supplied by Mediabase and BDS Radio Canada.

The study found that week only 2.5% of songs played met the CRTC's criteria for the morning peak period, with 3.9% being played during afternoon peaks.

Quel surprise, eh?

But isn’t commercial radio about playing hit songs? Whereas CRTC’s broadcasting regulations are primarily intended to boost Canadian culture?

As many of us know, the emerging artist tag practically fits any Canadian musician you can name—even those with chart successes.

Just ask their bank manager.

Reprinted with permission from The LeBlanc Newsletter. The LeBlanc Newsletter is exclusively carried and archived by Canadian Music Week in Canada at It is available In the U.S. at Encore Celebrity Access:

Journalist/broadcaster/researcher Larry LeBlanc has been a leading figure in
Canadian music for four decades. He has been a regular music commentator on CTV’s “Canada A.M” for 35 years, and has been featured on numerous CBC-TV, CTV, YTV, Bravo! MuchMusic, MusiMax, and Newsworld programs in Canada; VH-1, and EEntertainment in the U.S.; and BBC in the U.K. Larry was a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record; and, most recently, the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard for 16 years

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