Updated with a correction about stations being offered to participate.
After being tight-lipped about it for months, Shaw Media has made the first announcement about its plan for a new national news channel called Global News 1, first mentioned in a CRTC filing in June.
In a press release issued Monday, Shaw Media says it has submitted its application for the new all-news channel to the CRTC (which hasn’t published it yet, so we don’t have details). The timing is deliberate, coming just after the commission concluded its Let’s Talk TV hearing. Reeb said the submission was made several weeks ago, but Shaw wanted to wait until the proceeding was over to respect that process.
Shaw explains its unique blend of national and local news this way:
Global News 1 will feature a national newsfeed bookended by local news segments tailored specifically for each of the markets it serves. Using next-generation technology, the service will be framed by a continuous data feed of hyper-local headlines and community events. With the ability to cover live, breaking news at the local, regional or national level, Global News 1 will be like no other service on the dial.
Shaw says that each of the 12 markets with owned-and-operated Global stations (Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Saint John, Halifax) will have its own feed, but there will also be eight additional communities getting “local newsrooms” — places with “either no local television news or limited competition”:
- Fort McMurray, Alta.
- Red Deer, Alta.
- Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
- Niagara, Ont.
- Mississauga, Ont.
- Ottawa, Ont.
- Quebec City, Que.
- Charlottetown, P.E.I.
And on top of that, “Shaw Media is also proposing to open the channel to eight small-market, independent broadcasters who would have the opportunity to add their own local content to the service and retain all local advertising in their markets.”
Troy Reeb, senior vice-president of Global News, tells me these stations are:
- CKPG in Prince George, B.C. (Jim Pattison Group) — City affiliate
- CFJC in Kamloops, B.C. (Jim Pattison Group) — City affiliate
- CHAT in Medicine Hat, Alta. (Jim Pattison Group) — City affiliate
- CKSA/CITL in Lloydminster, Alta./Sask. (Newcap) — CBC and CTV affiliates, respectively
- CHFD in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Dougall Media) — already a Global affiliate
- CHEX in Peterborough, Ont. (Corus) — CBC affiliate
- CKWS in Kingston, Ont. (Corus) — CBC affiliate
- CJON in St. John’s, N.L. (NTV)
(An earlier version of this post also listed CHEK in Victoria, B.C. Reeb actually referred to CHEX, the Corus station. CHEK is not on the list because it competes directly with Global B.C.)
Reeb specifies that there has been no discussion with these stations. Rather, the offer is being made because Global does not want to compete with them. “We didn’t want to threaten any of the small stations that are already struggling,” he said. “We didn’t want to go in and say hey we’re going to open up a competitor. We’re looking for a solution not just for us but for the system overall.”
Assuming it adds all of these stations, that would mean up to 28 different markets getting a hybrid national/local news channel.
Notably absent from this list is CJBN, a station owned by Shaw (but separate from Shaw Media, its acquisition predated the Global purchase) in Kenora, Ont. Its tiny market and limited local programming means it doesn’t have the resources to contribute to this service, Reeb said.
Reeb told me that, if the proposal is approved, Global would add about 100 journalists across the country, between those working at the regional newsrooms and those working nationally. This would mean about a half-dozen people working in each regional newsroom.