Well now that a recession is on the horizon, the big guns – CTV and Global – are suddenly losing money by the barrel too. They want their local programming restrictions eased.
Considering local news and information programming from all the networks, including CBC, is a joke, they’ve got some nerve demanding more favours so they can cut even more.
Broadcast TV stations are given access to the airwaves (and preferential spots on the dial, assuming such a thing exists) in exchange for making a commitment to local programming. If we forgo that commitment, what’s the point in giving these people broadcast licenses?
Then again, with 90 per cent of Canadians using cable or satellite services, perhaps a broadcast transmitter isn’t as important as it used to be. They might be perfectly content moving to cable.
Here’s another suggestion: In exchange for lowering your requirements on local programming, we end the CRTC’s simultaneous substitution rule, which forces cable and satellite providers to replace U.S. channels (and commercials) with Canadian ones when they run the same programming.
Of course, simsub is a cash cow for the networks, and they’ll scream at the top of their lungs if there’s even a suggestion of removing it. But if the networks aren’t doing anything for us, why should we do anything for them?
The CRTC’s goal is the protection of Canadian culture and the regulation of its broadcasting industry, not ensuring the profitability of the big media empires. Let’s hope they remember that.