Broadcasting regulator the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on July 13 denied an application by Montreal-based Genex Communications for the renewal of its licence for

TORONTO -- Broadcasting regulator the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on July 13 denied an application by Montreal-based Genex Communications for the renewal of its licence for the French-language commercial rock radio station CHOI-FM in Quebec City.

In a separate public notice issued the same day, the CRTC called for applications for broadcasting licenses for a new French-language FM station in Quebec City.

In its ruling, the CRTC says comments made by CHOI's announcers were likely to expose individuals or groups of individuals to hatred or contempt "on the basis of mental disability, race, ethnic origin, religion, color or sex." The CRTC also maintained that the station's announcers were relentless in their use of the public airways to insult and ridicule people.

The regulator says Genex's programming has failed to meet the objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act of Canada. The regulator said that on numerous occasions, Genex had failed to comply with Canadian radio regulations.

Since Genex acquired CHOI in 1997, the station's programming has been under fire. The station has been the subject of numerous complaints with respect to the conduct of its hosts and alleged offensive comments, personal attacks and harassment.

In 2002, the CRTC restricted CHOI to a two-year license (rather than the customary five or seven years). The CRTC warned Genex that if the station committed further breaches, the regulator would call a public hearing to show cause why it should not issue a mandatory order or apply enforcement measures, including the suspension or revocation of CHOI's license.

The decision this week has signficiant implications for Canadian commercial radio. The CRTC has previously revoked licenses only for such matters as failure to meet music content regulations.

Genex Communications says it will appeal the CRTC ruling to the Federal Court of Appeal.