Rogers adding local evening newscasts to five City TV stations, including Montreal

Rogers Media just announced it is adding local evening TV newscasts at 6 and 11pm to City stations in five more markets in Canada — Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Montreal. (Toronto already has them.)

The new CityNews newscasts in Edmonton and Winnipeg will start on Sept. 4, and the rest in winter 2018.

The newscasts will each be one hour long and seven days a week. Details are a bit sketchy at this point and no talent has been announced. I’ve asked how many new jobs this will mean and will update when I hear back.

Rogers has confirmed to me that local Breakfast Television broadcasts will remain in markets that already have them (Edmonton and Winnipeg are the ones that don’t), so this will be a net increase in local programming. But since the evening newscasts would meet the CRTC-required 14 hours a week of local programming in major markets, Rogers could in the future decide to cancel BT or make it non-local and still meet its licence obligations.

The decision to add local newscasts comes on the heels of a few recent CRTC decisions on television policy. First, major vertically-integrated companies were given the flexibility to take money away from community television channels and redirect it to their own local commercial TV stations. Rogers is among those to have made major cuts to community TV, and CityNews is being improved with this money from Rogers cable customers.

The second is a new requirement for locally reflective news programming, issued as part of licence renewals that take effect on Sept. 1 (six hours a week in large markets, three hours in other markets). Rogers’s existing Breakfast Television and Dinner Television programs (and certainly its radio-on-TV programs) doesn’t have much of that (BT Montreal has a single news reporter), and so it decided to take the plunge into evening newscasts, where it will go up against CTV, Global and CBC in all of these markets.

The only station not getting a local newscast is City Saskatchewan, which is actually a cable channel that’s officially licensed as an educational broadcaster.

There aren’t many details on content, but there will be sports content from Sportsnet and stories from Rogers’s magazines including Maclean’s. It’s unclear how much national multi-market content will be used.

13 thoughts on “Rogers adding local evening newscasts to five City TV stations, including Montreal

  1. Media Man

    Well this could be exciting and in Montreal with Dominic Fazioli,the scoop getter, already in place, one wonders how the competition will react.

    Will they be 30 or 60 minute packages?

    Reply
    1. A.T.

      Dominic is the real deal and seemingly a hard worker. I cannot see the others making the leap to work in an official “news” capacity other than Katherine. She would need to polish up for an evening audience.

      Reply
  2. Étienne F-Gauthier (@EtienneFG)

    “major vertically-integrated companies were given the flexibility to take money away from community television channels and redirect it to their own local commercial TV stations”

    Does this mean Bell TV1 could also be in danger?

    “Rogers is among those to have made major cuts to community TV, and CityNews is being improved with this money from Rogers cable customers”

    Are they hiring more reporters with this new money?

    Thanks for the article.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Does this mean Bell TV1 could also be in danger?

      Yes. Bell can redirect all funding from TV1 to CTV and CTV Two stations in major markets. In smaller markets, it would need to keep some funding to its community channel, but not as much as before.

      Are they hiring more reporters with this new money?

      They would have to. But it’s unclear right now how many.

      Reply
  3. Jonathan Lalonde

    Steve, correct me if I’m wrong, but could this change towards Roger’s licence conditions make Videotron’s MaTV obsolete? Couldn’t Videotron deflect all MaTV spending to TVA regional broadcasters using these rules? That could be a game-changer.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Steve, correct me if I’m wrong, but could this change towards Roger’s licence conditions make Videotron’s MaTV obsolete?

      Well, it’s the change to Videotron’s licence, not Rogers’s, but yes it could mean redirecting MAtv funding to TVA stations. It wouldn’t mean MAtv disappearing entirely, but it could lose a lot of funding.

      Reply
  4. Steve

    Does Rogers Sportsnet currently have any Montreal-based sports reporter? I’m guessing still no. Who do they currently use to cover Montreal sports?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Does Rogers Sportsnet currently have any Montreal-based sports reporter?

      Kyle Bukauskas is probably the closest thing they have to serving this role. He does rinkside reports for Canadiens regional games. There are also contributors here like Eric Engels.

      Reply
  5. J

    Very interesting news. But CJNT-DT (62.1) the local O&O CITY station should look at not going head to head with the other local newscast at 6 & 11. A 5pm, or 7pm, or even 10pm should be looked at. As well as increasing the power output on their transmitter. Very low power.

    Reply
  6. Brett

    I agree a 5pm newscast would be better in Montreal for ratings. Look at American markets most start at 5pm and the very few 4pm.

    Reply
  7. dilbert

    Well, well… isn’t this a switch. Wasn’t that long ago that the standard line was “City will never do news again outside of Toronto”. Yet as soon as the CRTC gives them a little leeway, they drag the money out of the dead end of “community” stations and start moving back to local news (which generally can bring in at least some income).

    More local news is a really good thing, even if it’s done for the wrong reasons. Now the real question will be “how local is it, really?”, as it’s quite possible that they will go down the route of some local reporters with the news actually read, edited, and produced in Toronto. But still, it’s better than a kick in the butt with a Doc Maarten.

    Reply
    1. Brett

      I just hope they don’t do what Global does. Have the weather done in Toronto and late nights done for everyone. Keep it local. After Global centralized their local news cast to one location I moved to CTV. I love Breakfast Television just hope Rogers does it like in Toronto. We need better evening news.

      Reply

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