Astral Radio Group Inc.
Radio St-Hyacinthe (1978) Ltée.
Roger Duceppe on behalf of a company to be incorporated [Radio St-Hyacinthe (1978) Ltée] was given approval on July 17 to acquire CKBS from Radio St. Hyacinthe Ltee.
On January 21, the CRTC approved the application for a licence for a French-language FM radio station at Saint-Hyacinthe on the frequency 106.5 MHz, channel 293, with an effective radiated power of 3,000 watts. The licence would expire September 30, 1990. Radio St-Hyacinthe (1978) Inc. already operated CKBS-AM in Saint-Hyacinthe. The applicant proposed to provide a complementary local service that would enable it to repatriate listeners from stations serving outside markets. This joint FM station would be operated in the "Group I" music format, with a vocal-to-instrumental ratio of 80/20, and would broadcast at least 65% French-language vocal music. The applicant proposed to broadcast 20% foreground programming each week, to be produced locally. The proposed programs would feature, among other things, special interviews "Reflets d'ici". It also proposed to broadcast 2 hours and 20 minutes of news per week. The newscasts would be different from those of the AM station and their content would be entirely local or regional. The applicant intended to allocate one full-time journalist and to share the four journalists of the AM station. Since the commitment to news was minimal, the Commission encouraged the applicant to give particular attention to the quality of its newscasts and to increase their length when its financial resources enabled it to do so.
CFEI-FM signed on the air on March 30.
Radio St-Hyacinthe (1978) Ltée was sold by Michel Chapdelaine, André Lagacé, Roger Duceppe and Richard Loiselle to Cogeco Inc. The purchase involved stations CKBS-AM and CFEI-FM in St-Hyacinthe. Roger Duceppe was in ill health, so it was decided the company should be sold.
Sister station CKBS-AM left the air.
CFEI was sold by Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc. to 3145069 Canada inc.
CFEI-FM received permission to reduce effective radiated power from 3,000 watts to 640 watts, and to move the transmitter from Saint-Hyacinthe to an existing tower on the summit of Mont Rougemont. It was hoped these changes would clear the obstacle created by Mont Saint-Hilaire and provide better service to the communities of Beloeil and Saint-Hilaire.
Power returned to the original 3,000 watts. This after the CRTC approved a return to that power from 640 watts on February 2. The change would shift coverage to the northeast.
Lucien Rémillard purchased CFEI.
Astral Radio Group Inc. purchased CFEI-FM.
Astral’s application to increase CFEI’s ERP from 3,000 watts to an aveage ERP of 33,200 watts was denied.
On March 24, the CRTC denied an application to change the authorized contours of CFEI-FM by increasing the effective radiated power from 3,000 watts to an average ERP of 33,200 watts and by relocating the transmitter. CFEI-FM operated at 106.5 MHz. Astral stated that the purpose of its application was to improve the reception quality of CFEI-FM's signal in that part of its licensed service area that was currently underserved from a technical perspective. Astral stated that CFEI-FM's service area contained natural obstacles, such as Mont Saint-Hilaire, Mont Saint-Bruno and Mont Rougemont and that with its current ERP, CFEI-FM was not able to offer quality signal reception to residents of Beloeil, McMasterville, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Otterburn Park, Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Sainte-Julie and Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil. The applicant submitted that its proposal was not intended to add communities to CFEI-FM's service area, but rather to improve its signal quality and thus better meet the needs of commercial, government and association advertisers, expand its listener base and compete more effectively with other media in the market. Astral indicated that it would be prepared to accept a condition of licence prohibiting it from soliciting or accepting advertising in the Montréal, Longueuil, Iberville and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu markets. Given the short distance between Saint-Hyacinthe and Montréal and the proximity of CFEI-FM's current frequency of 106.5 MHz to the 106.3 MHz frequency proposed by the two other applications to operate new radio stations in Montréal, the three applications were competitive on a technical basis. Although the two applications proposing to use 106.3 MHz in Montréal were denied in decisions issued that day, the Commission noted that approval of Astral's application could prevent future use of 106.3 MHz in the Montréal area, which was one of the last FM frequencies available in this large market. The Commission noted that Astral stated in its application that its primary goal was to improve the reception quality of CFEI-FM's signal within its current licensed area. Despite the presence of natural obstacles that were a challenge to the propagation of any FM signal in the current service area, the Commission considered that a proposal resulting in the significant expansion of the coverage area by increasing CFEI-FM's ERP was not an appropriate solution under the circumstances. The CRTC was not convinced that the technical solution proposed by Astral was the only solution that would enable it to improve the quality of CFEI-FM's signal in its current market. It was felt that there were other possible technical solutions and that these solutions merited further consideration.
On June 27, 2013, after a previous such application had been denied in 2012, the CRTC approved an application by Astral Media Inc. to sell its pay and specialty television channels, conventional television stations and radio stations to BCE Inc., including CFEI-FM.