I love Canada. It’s a beautiful country. Its cities are clean and relatively safe. Its people are mostly terrific.

I just returned from there after a week at Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission hearings in Calgary. The CRTC is considering adding stations to Calgary and a couple of small cities in Alberta.

Unlike the FCC (which licenses stations concerned mainly with minimizing interference while squeezing in as many as possible), the CRTC does “due diligence.” It concerns itself with applicants’ business plans, financial qualifications and even formats. It wants new stations to add diversity of voices and choices to their markets. And it wants new stations to be viable without threatening the viability of existing ones. No wonder Canada has far fewer stations per capita than the U.S.!

Calgary, a metro area of over a million, with the hottest economy in the country, has only eight commercial FMs! Certainly, it can support more. And any new license in Calgary will be worth many millions.

Companies compete for the prize, and that’s where the fun part comes in. Broadcasters (and would-be’s) make elaborate presentations to CRTC commissioners, to convince them that they have the right plan, make the right promises, and have the right format for the market.

Not surprising, research (or what claims to be research) plays a role in this discussion. And I learned some amazing “facts” in Calgary last week…things that stunned me even though I’ve been in this industry for 30+ years. For example…

Seventeen percent of Calgary listeners do not have a favorite station! (It’s actually more like 2%.)

Sixty percent of the listeners to a Hot A/C station could name it as their favorite!

A station that includes MOR performers like Perry Como will appeal to 45-64’s, and even 45-54’s!

An Easy Listening station that includes 35% instrumentals will appeal to 45-64’s, and even 45-54’s!

There is a big opportunity for a Folk Music station!

Now, one of the CRTC commissioners did have a problem with something I testified to…that a Triple A station would have significant appeal to listeners in their 20’s and 30’s. But Triple A is new to Canada. Once he checks out the demos of Triple A’s in the U.S., he’ll understand that it is true.

But even (especially?) after 30+ years in the business, there’s something I don’t understand…why would anyone even want to play Perry Como on FM???