On Thursday, TQS-owner-to-be-maybe Remstar decided to cave, slightly, into the CRTC’s demands that it not completely eliminate its news department. The new plan would have 15 hours of locally-produced programming a week in Montreal, including two hours of news; 10 hours of programming with 2 hours of news in Quebec City; and 1.5 hours of programming with 50 minutes of news in Sherbrooke, Trois Rivières and Saguenay.
I’m sorry, but this shouldn’t be a long, drawn-out negotiation. The CRTC has to set limits on the amount of programming that stations need in order to have the right to broadcast on TV airwaves here. If Remstar wants to meet that requirement with TQS, fine. If not, they lose their broadcast license and they can try their luck on cable.
Looking at the anglo TV stations will quickly give an idea of the pressures against local programming. The CTV and Global stations teeter on the edge of the 18 hours of local programming required every week. Global Quebec makes a mockery of it, repeating an evening newscast at 6am the next day (a newscast, produced out of Vancouver with a local host, and which includes packages produced by other Global stations outside the province).
For more on the TQS situation by the way, check out the union-driven website TQS SOS.