The CRTC said Wednesday that two separately owned French-language commercial radio stations in Gatineau, Que., will be allowed to combine their sales teams. The stations involved are Cogeco Cable Inc.-owned CKOF-FM, which has a talk format, and RNC Media Inc.-owned CHLX-FM, also known at Rythme FM, which broadcasts adult-contemporary music and jazz. A notice on the commission's website said they have both been losing money in recent years. It said officials from both stations argued that teaming up to offer advertising deals for both stations would help them compete against BCE Inc., which operates two French and four English radio stations in the Ottawa-Gatineau market. The stations expect that the arrangement would help them reduce losses but would not make them profitable, the CRTC said. Bell intervened against the applications, arguing that CHLX's recent format change to more mainstream music and investments made into CKOF could allow them to succeed without a sales agreement, adding that the CRTC typically prefers radio stations depend on market-based solutions. In approving the arrangement, the CRTC said each station would maintain separate effective control and the change "would not have a negative impact on the diversity of programming and editorial voices, and that it would not have an undue impact on the balance of competition in the market." The CRTC notice also included a dissenting opinion from Commissioner Raj Shoan, who said the decision "arguably rewards two radio services with subpar programming offerings with a competitive advantage."