CRTC won't allow B.C. radio buy


TORONTO -- British Columbia media giant the Jim Pattison Group has been denied a bid to acquire two local FM radio stations on potential monopoly grounds.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Tuesday that the Vancouver-based company may not buy CKIZ-FM in Vernon and CIGVFM in Penticton, both in British Columbia, as the transaction would give Pattison more than two English-language FM stations in the local media market.

"If the Commission were to approve the applications, all of the nine commercial radio programming undertakings serving Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton ... would belong to two operators -- Pattison and Astral Media Radio," the CRTC said in its ruling. "A plurality of ownership in the private element is necessary in order to maximize the diversity of voices in the Canadian broadcasting system."

The decision follows a January move by the CRTC to introduce new cross-media ownership restrictions that restrict any company or person from owning more than two media outlets in a single market (HR 1/16).

The Jim Pattison Group last month acquired the Guinness World Records property from HIT Entertainment, and added it to the Ripley's Believe It or Not! property it already owns.