Media News Digest: CRTC boosts TV quotas, more newspapers close, Postmedia buyouts

News about news

At the CRTC

  • The commission has reviewed its licence renewals for major English- and French-language TV broadcasters after being asked to do so by the federal government. Here’s what has changed:
    • In the English groups, the quota for Programs of National Interest (scripted comedies and dramas, long-form documentaries, award shows) is going up: 7.5% for Bell, 8.5% for Corus, as of 2018-19. Rogers remains at 5%. This change would mean millions more in funding for original Canadian series (though perhaps less for other types of Canadian programming).
    • In the French groups, the requirement that 50% of Canadian programming expenditures be for original French-language programs is going up to 75% for Bell, Corus, V and TVA.
    • For both groups, a new tax of 0.17% of gross revenues is being imposed to compensate for the fact that MuchMusic, M3 (since replaced by Gusto), CMT, MusiquePlus and Musimax (now just MAX) are no longer required to make financial contributions to music development. English groups will give that money to FACTOR and French groups to MUSICACTION. This new tax is temporary until the end of the licence term (i.e. 2022).
    • The commission found no action was necessary to support short-form programming since the Bell Fund decided to put specific money aside to support what was previously supported by BravoFACT.
  • A bunch more licence renewals as the commission rushed to finish its homework before the Sept. 1 deadline:
    • RNC Media’s television stations in western Quebec, renewed to 2023. All four stations must broadcast two hours and 30 minutes a week of locally reflective news, plus individual conditions:
      • CFVS-DT Val d’Or (V): 2h30m a week of local programming, 44% of gross revenues on locally reflective news
      • CFEM-DT Rouyn-Noranda (TVA): 2h30m a week of local programming, 13% of gross revenues on locally reflective news
      • CFGS-DT Gatineau (V): 2h30m a week of local programming, 21% of gross revenues on locally reflective news
      • CHOT-DT Gatineau (TVA): 5h a week of local programming, 9% of gross revenues on locally reflective news
    • Télé Inter-Rives’s television stations in eastern Quebec, renewed to 2023, with the requirement to spend 15% of gross revenues on local news, and the following weekly quotas per station:
      • CHAU-DT Carleton-sur-Mer (TVA): 5 hours of local programming, 2h30m of locally reflective news programming
      • CKRT-DT Rivière-du-Loup (Radio-Canada): 2 hours and 45 seconds of local programming and locally reflective news programming
      • CIMT-DT Rivière-du-Loup (TVA): 5 hours of local programming, 2h30m of locally reflective news programming
      • CFTF-DT Rivière-du-Loup (V): 5 hours of local programming, 2h30m of locally reflective news programming
    • CKYR-FM Calgary (Red 106.7), renewed to 2025 but forced to pay $135,617 in extra Canadian content development contributions as punishment for failure to meet past CCD contribution minimums.
    • CKFG-FM Toronto (G98.7), renewed for three years over “unprecedented levels of non-compliance” that included insufficient Canadian musical content, insufficient world music content, late filing of annual returns, improper logs, late implementation of emergency alerting, and insufficient Canadian content development contributions. In addition to the short-term renewal, it is being forced to pay $39,000 in additional CCD contributions, and a new limit has been placed on the use of musical montages. Licence amendments to allow more musical flexibility were denied.
    • Wild TV, renewed to 2023 with a 25% Canadian programming spending quota (it had asked for 15%). Compliance issues related to Canadian programming and closed captioning were solved by the submission of complete logs.
    • New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD), renewed to 2022 with a 45% Canadian programming spending quota. It failed to comply with closed captioning requirements.
  • Area code news for two of the four places in Canada still using seven-digit dialling:
    • In Newfoundland and Labrador (area code 709), the commission has delayed the implementation of new area code 879 and 10-digit dialling after the projected exhaustion date of 709 numbers was pushed back five years. The transition, originally set for this fall, will now start in 2022. The transition from 7- to 10-digit dialling begins Feb. 11, 2022, with mandatory 10-digit dialling starting May 6, 2022. The new area code begins, overlaid on the existing one, on May 20, 2022.
    • In New Brunswick, area code 506 will be overlaid with new area code 428 as of Nov. 21, 2020. The transition to 10-digit dialling begins Aug. 13, 2020, and mandatory dialling as of Nov. 7, 2020.
    • After those two have transitioned, Canada will have only two areas still with seven-digit dialling: Northwestern Ontario (807) and the territories (867). The group in charge of planning area codes projects they won’t need relief for those two until at least 2039.
  • The Competition Bureau’s Interim Commissioner of Competition has filed an opinion on the CRTC’s review of telecom company sales practices. Interestingly, it says it has power to deal with misleading sales practices (promising one thing and failing to deliver on it), but it doesn’t have the power to deal with aggressive sales practices.

Ethical reviews





Election stuff

We’re in the middle of a Quebec election campaign, so party leaders are making some promises that they may or may not be able to keep:

News about people



4 thoughts on “Media News Digest: CRTC boosts TV quotas, more newspapers close, Postmedia buyouts

  1. awr

    Buried in the Bell renewal is the permission to close about 6 more CTV OTA repeaters including 1 in Ontario, 2 Manitoba and an additional one in Nova Scotia

  2. dilbert

    Wow, the CRTC really through the book at CKFG… years of serious non-compliance, and they get a mid size fine and a 3 year license? This after a short 6 month renewal in the spring? Honestly, the airwaves are valuable and frequencies rare in that marketplace. Why are they putting up with it all endlessly? As always, the CRTC is as tough as Grandma on your cheeks… and nothing more.

  3. Randy

    I like reading your blog and such. Hate to be this person but M3 doesn’t exist anymore. Bell changed it to Gusto (food channel) and they will be changing it in 2019

    1. Fagstein Post author

      M3 doesn’t exist anymore

      This is true. But the point is that the requirement to contribute to music funds applied to the channel because of its former vocation (as MuchMoreMusic/M3).


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