A Canadian government study of the amount of airplay given to new musicians by Canadian radio demonstrates a deep-rooted problem, the head of the Canadian Independent Record Production Association says.

"The situation is even worse than we expected," says Duncan McKie, president of CIRPA. "Now we have objective third-party research that shows what is going on in radio in this country."

McKie says the study, run by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, found that while Canadian radio stations must play 35% Canadian content, much of that material was from decades past. The study, which utilized nine definitions of "emerging artist," found that only 2.5% of songs played met the criteria for the morning peak period, with 3.9% being played during afternoon peaks.

To run the study, the CRTC obtained playlists from 20 French-language and 85 English-language stations containing the music broadcast during the week of 15-21 April 2007 from 6 a.m. to midnight. These were supplemented by playlist information supplied by Mediabase and BDS Radio Canada. Utilizing a variety of databases, the CRTC identified 410 English- and 164 French-language emerging artists whose music was played that week.

McKie says that number is woefully low and demonstrates that in order to improve the result, the CRTC will have to introduce some quota system. Responses to the study are due in April, with final comments in May. No timeline has been set for the introduction of an emerging artist category.