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Haliburton Broadcasting Group is a Canadianmarker group of FM radio stations, located primarily in smaller markets in Ontariomarker.

History

The company is named for the Haliburtonmarker region in Central Ontario, where majority owner and president Christopher Grossman, a longtime radio sales manager, trainer and executive, was also a hotelier before purchasing his first radio station, CFBG in Bracebridgemarker.

HBG expanded greatly into Northern Ontario in 1999 by acquiring several stations from the Pelmorex Radio Network. In 2004, they also acquired CKNR in Elliot Lakemarker, a station which had also once been part of Pelmorex but was sold to North Channel Broadcasting in 1996.

The company currently owns 13 English stations, all branded Moose FM, and is a minority shareholder in one additional station which is branded The Coast FM. They are generally formatted with adult contemporary or hot adult contemporary music; Moose FM Timmins was a country music station before moving to adult hits. The company also formerly operated two French stations, branded as CHYC (pronounced like the French word chic), over a number of transmitters, but these were sold to Le5 Communications in 2008.

Haliburton's head office is in Torontomarker, Ontariomarker, although most of its operations are based in Haliburton. Toronto-based Slaight Communications owns a significant minority interest in the group, which was not included in that company's 2007 sale of most of its broadcasting assets to Astral Media.

In 2006 and 2007, the company also expanded into Southwestern Ontario for the first time, launching a new station in Kincardinemarker as a partial owner, and acquiring an existing station in Haldimand.

Strategy and competition

Haliburton's strategy has been based on the conversion of former AM radio stations to FM, adoption of generally more contemporary-oriented music formats, modest staffing levels, and economies of scale through shared voice tracking, production and advertising sales across the regional group.

CHNO in Sudburymarker was an AM oldies station when Haliburton acquired it from Pelmorex; a stipulation in the CRTC's approval of the transaction allowed it to move to FM. In 2000, it relaunched at 103.9 as a contemporary hit radio station branded as Z103. After a short time, it was sold in 2001 to the larger Newcap Broadcasting for significantly more than it had been acquired for. The CRTC, wary of potential "license trafficking," accepted the sale on the grounds that Haliburton had been losing money with CHNO, and would reinvest the proceeds into its contemporaneous purchase of CKLP in Parry Soundmarker.

CHMT in Timminsmarker launched in 2001 as an adult contemporary station as Mix 93, but soon faltered under competition from CKGB, formerly an AM country station which adopted the EZ Rock adult contemporary brand and moved to FM shortly after CHMT launched. CHMT flipped to country about a year later, and eventually relented as had CHNO, abandoning its own sales staff and sharing sales with the two Rogers Media stations in Timmins.

On March 17, 2005, the CRTC published notice of an application Haliburton filed in 2004 to launch an FM country station in North Baymarker . It was approved on August 11, 2005. However, the North Bay station launched as an adult hits format in the summer of 2006, instead of the country music format the station originally proposed.

On April 7, 2005, they published notice of an application also filed in 2004 to launch an FM "adult contemporary rock" station in Haliburton itself. This license was also subsequently granted, and the station launched in 2006.

Sale of holdings

In May 2008, Haliburton announced a deal to sell the CHYC stations to Le5 Communications, a firm owned by Sudbury lawyer Paul Lefebvre, for a purchase price of $425,000. The deal was approved by the CRTC on October 31, 2008.

On July 28, 2008, HBG announced that it had sold 12 stations to Newcap Broadcasting, subject to CRTC approval, for a price of $18.95 million. The Kincardine and Haldimand stations were not part of the deal, and their status was not disclosed at the time of the Newcap announcement. Newcap's formal application to acquire the stations was published for public hearings by the CRTC on November 13, 2008, but was subsequently withdrawn in January 2009. Newcap CEO Rob Steele indicated that in light of the credit market crisis, the company did not feel that it was the right time to increase its debt load.

In February 2009, Haliburton was part of a tentative deal to sell CIYN in Kincardine to My Broadcasting Corporation.

Haliburton stations

Moose FM



The Coast FM

Haliburton has a 29.9% minority interest in the following station.

Former french network stations

CHYC



References

  1. Decision CRTC 96-396
  2. Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2004-114
  3. Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2008-68
  4. Decision CRTC 99-404
  5. Decision CRTC 2001-691
  6. Decision CRTC 2001-48
  7. Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2005-3
  8. CRTC Decision 2005-393
  9. Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2005-4
  10. Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2005-488
  11. [1]
  12. CRTC Decision 2008-296
  13. [2]
  14. Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2008-14
  15. Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2008-14-7
  16. "Credit markets squelch $19M Newfoundland Capital radio purchase in Ontario", Canadian Press, January 19, 2009.
  17. Scott Fybush, "Analog Sunset? Not in Scranton!", NorthEast Radio Watch, February 23, 2009.


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