The CRTC deadline for interventions in Bell Media’s request for regulatory programming relief passed late last week with 19 submissions received, the majority making the case against the broadcaster’s proposal. Bell is specifically seeking a reduction in Canadian programming expenditures (CPE) from 30% to 20%; a reduction in minimum PNI (Programs of National Interest) expenditures from 7.5% to 5%; and an expansion of the current PNI categories to include analysis and interpretation, music and dance, variety, game shows, human interest, and reality television. In return, it’s proposing to increase its independent production acquisitions from 75% to 100% of PNI expenditures. Bell has also asked the commission to drop current requirements to broadcast specified levels of local news. The Forum for Research and Policy in Communications (FRPC) is among those in opposition, saying that due to the company’s size, any decisions the CRTC makes about Bell’s applications will have consequences for Canada’s broadcasting system. According to CRTC data cited by FRPC, Bell’s 35 local TV stations took in 40% of the revenues of Canada’s 92 local TV stations in 2021/22, while its 32 discretionary TV services took in 38% of revenues reported by the 174 discretionary TV services licensed to operate in Canada. Read more here.
Canadian Media Guild (CMG) members at TVO have returned a strong strike mandate to their bargaining team with 95.8% of members voting to reject the employer’s latest offer. No date to walk out has been set as CMG says it’s still hoping to negotiate an agreement and avoid a strike. The collective agreement governing journalists, producers and education workers at Ontario’s public broadcaster expired last October. In February, unionized TVO employees voted 100% in support of a strike mandate. Read more here.
Xplore is reporting the successful launch of the next-generation JUPITER 3 satellite that will enable the rural broadband provider to start offering high-speed internet to Canadians in under-served areas, starting this fall. JUPITER 3, the newest and largest communications satellite from Hughes Network Systems, an Echostar Company, will allow Xplore to offer rural homeowners 100 Mbps speeds with specific availability and pricing details to be made available closer to service launch.
Stan Thomas has written a book about the early days of television in Saskatoon – Life in Early Television: The Good, The Bad and the Funny. Thomas, 89, started his broadcasting career at CFQC-TV in 1957, in the station’s early years. He went on to become an executive with Canwest and Global Television.