Tag Archives: Rogers

How the Rogers-Shaw deal would affect Global News

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission today begins a five-day hearing into the proposed purchase of Shaw Communications by Rogers. You can follow a live stream online and see the agenda here.

While there are a lot of competition-related concerns about this purchase, and particularly how it will remove a fourth wireless provider in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, the CRTC’s concern in all this is somewhat narrow. Its permission isn’t needed for a wireless, internet or telephone provider to buy another. (The Competition Bureau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada will undertake their own proceedings to evaluate those concerns, and their approval is also needed before the transaction can proceed.)

Instead, the CRTC’s permission is only required for the transfer of broadcasting assets. Shaw sold its television and radio assets to Corus in 2016, leaving the following:

  • Its licences for television distribution, including Shaw Cable the Shaw Direct satellite TV service
  • Its licences for community television channels tied to those cable distributors
  • Its licences for video on demand and pay-per-view services tied to those cable distributors (Rogers is not acquiring these as it has its own licences)
  • Its licence for a satellite broadcasting distribution relay service, which provides TV signals to other providers
  • Its stake in CPAC

Competition issues will be brought up in discussion of those points. For example, under this deal Rogers would get two thirds ownership of CPAC, giving it effective control (Videotron, Cogeco and Eastlink are also minority owners).

But an issue that hasn’t gotten much attention (besides from the Globe and Mail and a few others) is what this means for Global News.

You see, back in 2017 when the CRTC decided to screw over community television, it put in place a new subsidy system whereby large TV providers can redirect some of the money they would have spent on community television and instead send it to affiliated local TV stations to use for local news. Rogers could give some money to Citytv, Bell could give some money to CTV, Videotron could give some money to TVA, and Shaw could give some money to Corus. Though Shaw and Corus are separate companies, they are both ultimately controlled by the Shaw family, so for the CRTC’s purposes they’re related.

Once Rogers acquires Shaw, it will take the money that went to Corus for Global News and instead redirect it to Citytv stations.

According to CRTC filings, $8.8 million from Shaw Cable and $4.2 million from Shaw Direct were sent to Global for “locally reflective news programming” in 2019-20, for a total of about $12.9 million. That represents about 12 per cent of the $106 million Corus spent on local news in 2019-20.

That would mean significant cuts to Global News, unless Corus just decides to swallow the loss. Since Global as a whole is unprofitable, that seems unlikely.

It’s worth noting that while Corus has pointed this out in a submission, Corus is not on the agenda to appear at the CRTC hearing. Its owner is more interested in the profits from the sale than Corus’s concerns about local news.

The other fund

Now, because there are some private commercial television stations out there that aren’t owned by large cable companies, the CRTC set up a special fund to help them. The Independent Local News Fund is financed by a 0.3% tax on all licensed TV distributors, and is divided among independent TV stations based on the amount of local news they produce.

Because the Rogers-Shaw deal would orphan Global, it could then apply to the ILNF for funding for local news.

But the ILNF’s total budget is $21 million a year ($3 million of which comes from Shaw), so unless it would be willing to part with half its funding, either Global or the other independent stations (or most likely both) would have to lose a lot of money.

When the CRTC approved the purchase of V by Bell Media, V became ineligible for funding from the ILNF, and so its funding was redistributed among the remaining stations. But V only got about $3.2 million from the fund, so there’s a $10 million gap.

The CRTC set the 0.3% tax based on how television stations were owned at the time. A logical solution would be to increase that tax, but that would require a separate hearing, and either a cut to some other contribution line or an increase in costs to television providers that would then be passed on to customers.

Or Canadians could just accept that independent television gets stuck with a big budget cut because Canada’s second-largest communications company wanted to get bigger.

Rogers to buy Shaw for $26 billion — but will regulators agree?

There are days you think Canada’s media and telecom industries are about as converged as they can be. And then another megatransaction gets announced that you think couldn’t possibly be approved by the government. And then it is.

Transactions like Bell buying Astral Media, Bell buying MTS, Rogers buying Mobilicity, Postmedia buying Sun Media, and all the other transactions that brought us to this point.

So the news that Shaw has agreed to a $26-billion sale to Rogers maybe shouldn’t come as quite a shock. But as the government professes to be pro-consumer, particularly when it comes to wireless services, can we really expect this deal to be approved?

Here are the stumbling blocks the companies will have to get over:

  1. Freedom Mobile. In Ontario, Alberta and B.C., Freedom is the fourth large wireless carrier, the last surviving one from that era of increased competition after Mobilicity and Public Mobile were scooped up by the big three. Rogers, which is already Canada’s largest mobile provider, apparently believes it can just keep Freedom as part of the deal, with nothing more than a promise that it won’t raise prices for three years. If the federal government is to be taken seriously on wireless competition, it can’t possibly let that stand. It could force Rogers to sell Freedom to some other party (Quebecor? Xplornet? Cogeco? Some random rich guy?), or it could come to some agreement where Rogers sheds just enough Freedom customers to another party, like Bell did when it bought MTS.
  2. Corus. Shaw and Corus are separate companies, with separate boards of directors and different shareholders, but both are controlled by the Shaw family. The CRTC treats them as if they’re the same for competition reasons. The issue here is that, as part of the transaction, the Shaw family gets two seats on the Rogers board. That doesn’t give them control of Rogers, but does it present enough of a competition concern to warrant increased scrutiny?
  3. Cable and satellite. Because Shaw and Rogers have essentially split the country geographically, with Shaw serving western Canada and Rogers serving eastern Canada, there’s not much overlap in terms of wired coverage to deal with. But these are still big companies. Shaw has 1.4 million cable TV subscribers and more than 600,000 satellite TV subscribers, making almost $4 billion in annual revenue on TV services alone. Add that to Rogers’s 1.5 million TV subscribers and $3.5 billion revenue, and you get a company 30% larger than Bell on that front. That’s a change in dynamic in bargaining position when, say, negotiating carriage contracts with TV services. There’s also the fact that if Rogers buys Shaw’s satellite service, that’s one less TV service option for subscribers in Rogers territory. They go from having to choose between Rogers, Bell Fibe/satellite and Shaw Direct to having to choose between Rogers and Bell alone.
  4. Sheer size. Rogers has $15 billion in annual revenue. Shaw has $5 billion. Combined, they still fall short of Bell’s $24 billion, but not by much. No doubt Rogers will use the need to compete against Bell as an argument for approving the transaction, because the only way to fight ownership consolidation is more ownership consolidation.
  5. Jobs. Rogers has promised to create 3,000 “net new jobs” in western Canada as part of the deal. But it also says “synergies are expected to exceed $1 billion annually within two years of closing.” I’m curious what synergies can be achieved without cutting any jobs.

Mobile service seems like the only potential dealbreaker here, unless there are some minor assets that compete directly that would also need to be divested. Rogers would probably be fine ditching Freedom if that was a condition of approval.

Will political and regulatory forces accept such a deal? We’ll have to see. Recent experience suggests they probably will, and companies don’t go through this kind of trouble if they don’t think a deal can succeed. (At least that’s what I’d like to say, but Rogers’ proposed purchase of Cogeco fell flat, so…)

Rogers offers to buy Cogeco — what it means

Today, we learned Canada’s already concentrated telecom/media industry could soon become even more concentrated: Rogers has teamed up with American cable company Altice USA to make an unsolicited $10.3-billion offer for all of Cogeco’s assets. As part of the deal, Altice would take over Cogeco’s U.S. assets (Atlantic Broadband) and Rogers would take over the Canadian assets (Cogeco Connexion and Cogeco Media) for a net purchase price of $4.9 billion.

Rogers already owns a significant part of the two companies that make up Cogeco, via subordinate voting shares (41% of Cogeco Inc. and 33% of Cogeco Communications).

But both companies are controlled by the Audet family — Henri Audet founded the company more than 60 years ago — and the family has announced that it will not support the bid. Meanwhile, Quebec premier François Legault says he will do whatever is in his power to prevent Quebec from losing another corporate headquarters. But it’s unclear what powers he would have in this case. (Rogers responded by saying it “reaffirmed its commitment to expand and grow its presence in Quebec,” comparing Cogeco to Fido, which is still “headquartered” in Montreal, something at least one expert called BS on.)

Remember Videotron?

If Quebec does decide to step in somehow, this would make the second time it has intervened in a sale of a major cable company to Rogers. In 2000, Rogers came to an agreement to buy Videotron from the Chagnon family. But for similar reasons, the government stepped in and the Caisse de dépôt partnered with Quebecor to present a competing bid that was eventually accepted.

That deal had significant consequences for the media and telecom sphere in Quebec. Videotron became Quebecor’s main source of income as legacy media outlets faded, and now Videotron and Rogers compete for wireless customers, giving Quebec lower wireless rates than other large provinces.

Without Videotron, it’s clear that Quebecor would not be the same company it is now. Not only would it not own the cable company, but it wouldn’t have owned TVA either, since TVA was owned by Videotron at the time. Quebecor would have kept TQS, and either invested enough to improve it or seen it decline along with its other media assets.

(TQS was sold to a partnership between Cogeco and Bell, with Cogeco having the controlling interest. It eventually went bankrupt, was sold to Remstar, and just recently sold again to Bell.)

The Caisse/Quebecor deal didn’t work out so great for the public pension fund. Various analyses of the deal have shown that while the Caisse made money over the years, it would have done much better just putting it into the market.

Will it happen?

If Quebec doesn’t decide to step in (or does something like accept the deal if Rogers keeps some nominal headquarters for Quebec operations in Montreal), then it’s up to the Audet family.

Their deal was submitted to the boards, but the boards quickly rejected the deal as well. Altice responded that it is still pursuing a deal, but the Audet family said point blank “our shares are not for sale” and “our refusal is not a negotiating position, it is definitive.” Altice and Rogers Rogers say they’re playing the long game.

Competition concerns

If the deal is eventually accepted by shareholders, then the CRTC and Competition Bureau will look at it (or at least the Canadian part of it). The bureau looks at competition concerns from an economic perspective — will this deal in some way reduce competition? — while the CRTC considers other factors like diversity of voices.

From a media concentration standpoint, it’s worrisome that another medium-sized player will get scooped up by a large one. Over the past few years we’ve seen Astral Media, MTS and V get bought by Bell, most RNC Media radio stations bought by Cogeco, Public Mobile bought by Telus, Groupe Serdy bought by Quebecor, and a bunch of other smaller transactions.

But Rogers and Cogeco don’t really compete directly in anything. As cable companies, they each have their own territories, and though they may operate in the same regions (like southern Ontario), they don’t overlap. Rogers doesn’t own any radio stations in Quebec, and the only market where both companies operate is Ottawa/Gatineau, where Cogeco has 104,7fm and Rogers has CHEZ 106, Kiss 105.3 and 1310 News. Because they operate in different languages, they are considered part of different markets.

Cogeco had been looking to enter the wireless services market, to offer a bundle option to its cable subscribers. It was waiting on the CRTC to offer better conditions for virtual mobile network operators, which it hasn’t done yet. If Rogers buys Cogeco, the issue becomes moot, and Cogeco’s spectrum simply gets added to Rogers’s services.


According to CRTC data, as of Aug. 31, 2019, the largest companies had the following Canadian television subscribers:

  • Bell 2,820,284
  • Shaw 2,081,536*
  • Rogers 1,606,213
  • Videotron 1,440,097
  • Telus 1,127,676
  • Cogeco 627,608*

*Updated figure from last quarterly report.

Rogers and Cogeco combined would have about 2.2 million subscribers, making it the #2 television provider in Canada behind Bell.

Rogers owns 54 radio stations and Cogeco owns 23. Combined, they would have 77 radio stations, which is just above Stingray’s 74 (it claims to own more than 100 stations, but that includes a lot of retransmitters), and would be #2 in Canada behind Bell’s 109 in terms of number of stations

Rogers is already the #2 radio broadcaster in Canada in terms of annual revenue (figures from 2018-19 reports to CRTC, percentages based on latest Communications Monitoring Report):

  1. Bell: $347 million (25%)
  2. Rogers: $226 million (15%)
  3. Stingray: $152 million (10%)
  4. Corus: $109 million (8%)
  5. Cogeco: $96 million (7%)

If the deal goes through, 45% of all Canadian commercial radio revenue would be controlled by two companies, and 65% by the top four. As we learned from the Bell/Astral acquisition (which created a larger company than Rogers/Cogeco would), the CRTC doesn’t consider national market power in radio acquisitions, just number of stations in individual markets.

Since it got rid of TQS, Cogeco doesn’t own any television assets beyond the community channels associated with its cable companies. It also doesn’t own any newspapers or magazines (and since Rogers sold its remaining magazines to St. Joseph Communications, neither does it).

Rogers will shut down L’actualité if a buyer isn’t found by December

Rogers Media Unveils New Magazine Content Strategy” reads the press release, in typical vague fashion. The upshot is that Rogers is making severe cuts to its magazine portfolio, moving some online-only, reducing publication frequencies of others (including Maclean’s), and selling off the rest.

Except Hello! Canada, the celeb gossip mag. Nothing’s changing there.


Going out of print (but keeping websites “with new content posted daily”):

  • Flare (was 12 issues a year)
  • Sportsnet Magazine (was 15 issues a year)
  • MoneySense (was 8 issues a year)
  • Canadian Business (was 16 issues a year)

Reducing frequency:

  • Maclean’s (from weekly to monthly)
  • Chatelaine (from monthly to 6x a year)
  • Today’s Parent (from monthly to 6x a year)

For sale:

  • All business-to-business publications (including Canadian Grocer and Marketing)
  • L’actualité (18 issues a year)
  • Châtelaine (French, 12 issues a year)
  • LOULOU (French and English, 8 issues a year each)

The changes take effect in January. The notice to subscribers says the French magazines will “cease publication” in December, which means if a buyer isn’t found by then, they’re going to shut down.

The fact that Rogers is openly putting these magazines up for sale suggests that obvious potential buyers are not interested (i.e. TVA Publications). But maybe there’s some deep-pocketed person who would be willing to give L’actualité a second chance.

This news comes the same week Rogers announced the shutdown of shomi, its subscription video-on-demand service. You have to wonder what’s next, and in particular what this might mean for Texture, its bulk magazine subscription app. (Rogers tells the Financial Post that Texture makes a profit.)

No word on how many jobs will be lost as a result of these changes. How many magazines are sold versus shut down will have a big impact on that number.

And colour me pessimistic on the future of magazines that have been turned into digital-only publications. Just about every print publication that has gone online-only in the past has eventually been shut down all together.

Further reading

Bell files CRTC complaint over GamePlus feature on Rogers NHL GameCentre Live

One of Rogers’s attempts to use its $5.2-billion NHL rights purchase to drive subscriptions to its telecom services has prompted competitor Bell to file a complaint with the CRTC.

The complaint is about GamePlus, a feature of the new Rogers NHL GameCentre Live online streaming app. While GameCentre Live is available to anyone for purchase (though free for Rogers customers until the end of the year), GamePlus is exclusive to Rogers Internet, TV, home phone and wireless subscribers. It offers additional camera angles like the ref cam (a camera mounted on a referee’s helmet), sky cam (a wide-view camera that goes up and down the length of the ice at the Air Canada Centre) and star cam (a camera always focused on an individual player).

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The NHL season begins, and fans are just as confused as ever

Tonight, the new era of NHL broadcasting in Canada dawns, as Rogers presents its first regular-season games under its new $5.2-billion, 12-year deal with the league. As is tradition, the first match in Canada will be Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs. But while in past years this match was on CBC and RDS, tonight it will be on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

The change in TV channels is only part of the new reality. For the first time in a decade, RDS will be blacked out west of Belleville, Ont., during its 60 regional games (as it was, or should have been, during the preseason games). This has annoyed not only Habs fans in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, but places like northern Ontario, which has a lot of francophones. (I discussed the blackouts in a radio interview with Radio-Canada aimed at that audience.)

And the new rules for the NHL GameCentre Live streaming service have even me confused.

In an effort to help clear up some confusion about NHL games on TV, Saturday’s Gazette included a full-page calendar of all 82 Canadiens games and where they will air in English and French. That page is reproduced as a PDF on Hockey Inside/Out. I also created a printable version that fits on three 8.5/11-inch sheets of paper. And there’s a separate schedule for out-of-market viewers, which provides information on NHL Centre Ice and GameCentre Live availability.

And on top of all that, there’s this downloadable electronic calendar of Habs games listing their TV channels. (Once it loads, just go File -> Save As and save it to your computer, then use your preferred calendar program’s import function.)

This big chart was in the same paper as Brendan Kelly’s big feature on the new way to watch the Canadiens on TV, which includes Rogers admitting that getting programming information to fans will be a big challenge for this first year.

Rogers has recently posted a page on its website that gives some information about regional blackouts for GameCentre Live for the seven Canadian teams and the Buffalo Sabres, whose region extends into Niagara. It provides some additional information about shared broadcast regions and how many games will require Sportsnet subscriptions. And it has a page about the special $60 deal that offers just the French-language regional Canadiens and Senators games that air on RDS on its online streaming service.

For NHL Centre Ice, which fans in southern Ontario and western Canada will need to watch Canadiens games, we’re learning that most providers in those areas are offering a $60 RDS-only package, which means Habs fans in Toronto and Vancouver will get to pay just $10 a month or $1 a game to watch the 60 games that are being blacked out on RDS.

And the regular TV schedule has changed slightly, with two more games being moved from Sportsnet East to City Montreal to accommodate the baseball playoffs on Sportsnet.

There are other things that are still unclear, though. And I’ve just sent Rogers another list of questions that I’m hoping they can answer. It seems late in the process for such information to be unclear, and if I’m not entirely sure about some of it, you can imagine how confused your average fan must be.

The good news is that this situation shouldn’t repeat. Most of the rules will be the same next year as they were this year, and people should be used to the new reality relatively quickly. We’ll have another 12 years until this system dramatically changes again.

In the meantime, for tonight, the game is broadcast nationally in both languages, and the game begins at 7pm. On Thursday, the Canadiens play the Capitals at 7pm, and that game is national in English on Sportsnet 360 and regional in French on RDS. (Don’t ask me to explain that logic.)

Rogers offers special deal for rest of Canada to watch RDS Canadiens regional games online

As anger continues to build among Toronto and other western Canadian Habs fans that they will no longer be able to watch all 82 regular-season games on RDS, Rogers announced today a special deal that might alleviate that somewhat.

NHL GameCentre Live, the NHL streaming service that allows viewers to watch out-of-region games, will cost $200 for the season this year ($180 if you subscribe by Oct. 13). That’s a pretty steep price for people who were used to either having RDS as part of their basic package or paying a buck or two a month at most.

But Rogers is offering a separate deal that contains just the RDS regional games — 60 Canadiens games and 54 Ottawa Senators games — for $60 for the season. That might be enough for the hard-core fans to accept. (Note that this is for fans outside the Canadiens and Senators market, which is all of Quebec, all of Atlantic Canada and the part of Ontario that’s east of Belleville and Pembroke.)

No more blackouts*

On top of that, national games and in-region games, which were formally blacked out on GameCentre to protect the rights of national and regional broadcasters, will no longer be blacked out. So people who buy a subscription won’t have to switch between various media and websites.

The trade-off to that is that these will be available on an authenticated basis, meaning you need a TV subscription to Sportsnet (English) or TVA Sports (French) to access these national or in-region games on GameCentre, and you need your TV provider to participate in the Rogers program. The TVA access for national games in French probably won’t be ready until January because of technical issues.

Rogers confirms that the games that are not available in a certain region on TV will not require authentication to watch on GameCentre.

Rogers says there will still be some blackouts for in-region games whose rights are owned by “another company” (i.e. TSN). So Ottawa Senators regional games in eastern Canada and Winnipeg Jets games in Manitoba and Saskatchewan won’t be available on this service, nor will those Toronto Maple Leafs regional games that air on TSN4 be available in most of Ontario. You have to watch those on TSN.

Similarly, regional Habs and Senators games in French won’t be available in eastern Canada because RDS holds the rights to them.

And more

Other deals for NHL GameCentre Live include:

  • Free subscriptions for Rogers Internet and Rogers Wireless (data) subscribers until Dec. 31. Half-season passes will be $130 for those who want to subscribe after that.
  • More than 800 archived games going back to 1960.
  • A new NHL mobile app coming in October to watch the games on smartphones and tablets.
  • Where multiple feeds are available, such as English/French or Canada/U.S., GameCentre Live provides both as options.

Rogers has promised more GameCentre announcements in the coming weeks. There may also be announcements relating to NHL Centre Ice, the TV-based service for watching out-of-market games.

Sportsnet picks up Canadiens regional games, increases number of national games

With rumours spreading that there would, in fact, be a broadcaster picking up the regional rights to Canadiens games in English, Rogers finally announced today that it has not only picked up the rights to all regional Canadiens games, but that it has increased the number of Habs games being carried nationally, from 32 to 40.

The agreement is a three-year deal. It does not appear to include any preseason games. A play-by-play team has not yet been announced.

39 of the 42 regional games will air on Sportsnet East, which no longer has to worry about regional Senators games because those have moved to TSN. The other three (a Monday game and two Thursday games) will air on City Montreal.

Newly national games are:

  • Thursday, Oct. 9 (7pm @ Capitals) on Sportsnet 360
  • Thursday, Oct. 16 (7:30pm vs. Bruins) on Sportsnet 360
  • Monday, Oct. 27 (9:30pm @ Oilers) on Sportsnet One
  • Thursday, Oct. 30 (10pm @ Canucks) on Sportsnet 360
  • Saturday, Jan. 31 (1pm vs. Capitals) on Sportsnet
  • Wednesday, March 4 (10pm @ Ducks) on Sportsnet
  • Friday, April 3 (7pm @ Devils) on Sportsnet
  • Sunday, April 5 (5pm @ Panthers) on Sportsnet

This means that the Canadiens’ 82-game season breaks down as follows:

  • 39 regional games on Sportsnet East
  • 3 regional games on City Montreal
  • 10 national games (mainly Wednesdays) on Sportsnet East/Ontario/West/Pacific
  • 8 national games (first four Saturdays, most Sundays) on City
  • 4 national games on Sportsnet 360 (all Thursdays)
  • 1 national game on Sportsnet One (Monday Oct. 27)
  • 17 national games on Hockey Night in Canada, channels TBA

Because TSN has the Ottawa Senators regional games, and the two team’s regions are identical, two regional games between the two teams (Jan. 15 and March 12) will be on both TSN and Sportsnet, giving viewers a choice of which network to watch.

The deal does not affect radio rights, which are still held by TSN Radio 690.

I’ve updated my post on who’s carrying what games to include this deal as well as additional national games for the Flames and Oilers.

NHL broadcast schedule 2014-15: Who owns rights to what games

Are you pissed because you just saw RDS, TSN or Sportsnet blacked out during an NHL game? This post explains what’s going on and what you can do about it.

Updated Sept. 5 with Rogers-Canadiens regional deal, as well as additional national games for Oilers, Flames and Canucks. Also includes information about out-of-region coverage where two Canadian teams face each other, and information about where some games are national in one language but regional in the other.

The final piece of the puzzle as far as the NHL schedule is concerned has finally been revealed with the publishing of regional broadcast schedules. This allows us to break down who will broadcast what where, and I’ve done so below for the seven Canadian NHL teams.

As previously announced, Rogers has all the national rights to NHL games, which includes all Saturday night games and all playoff games. Beyond that, it gets a bit complicated (some games are national in one language but not the other, for example). Regional games will be viewable in the team’s region (here’s a map of the teams’ regions), but those outside will need to fork out cash for NHL Centre Ice or NHL GameCentre to see all their team’s games. (Or maybe not? Rogers still gives me a coy “details will be announced in the coming weeks” when I ask about that.)

TSN has decided to assign its three regional rights packages to specific channels: Jets on TSN3, Leafs on TSN4 and Senators on TSN5. The five-channel TSN system launches on Monday on every major TV provider in Canada except Videotron (which tells me it’s in discussions to add the other three channels).

Below are how the TV and radio rights break down for each team. They include regular-season games only. Preseason games are regional, and subject to separate deals. All playoff games are national, so their rights are owned by Rogers in English and TVA in French.

Radio rights are not subject to regional blackouts. Listed is their local station only and does not include affiliates.

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The new convergence utopia: Who owns what in Canadian media

A little under three years ago, I published a post with a chart of Canada’s media giants and what they own. Now that the CRTC has given a green light to a major acquisition by one of them, I thought it was a good time to revisit and update that chart.

The following represents who will own what once all the various deals go through, including related deals for asset acquisitions involving Corus, Shaw and Pattison Group.

UPDATE: I’ve moved the chart to this page, where I will be keeping it updated.

Rogers shuts down CityNews Channel

Citing “evolving viewer habits and the global structural shift in advertising,” Rogers announced it is shutting down Toronto all-news channel CityNews Channel effective immediately. It also announced that it would no longer be producing OMNI programming in Alberta, where it has two over-the-air stations in Calgary and Edmonton, and it is killing its English-language South Asian newscast.

The cuts affect 2.5% of the Rogers Broadcast workforce, or 62 full-time jobs.

CityNews Channel launched in 2011 as a local Toronto all-news channel (the announcement of its launch was exactly two years ago). Its main competition was CP24, ironically a channel that was previously run by City but that went to CTV when CTV bought CHUM in 2007. It sold City to Rogers but kept CP24 for itself.

The channel has struggled in ratings, doing worse than even Sun News Network (though that channel is a national one).

OMNI’s Alberta stations, CJEO Edmonton and CJCO Calgary, were licensed as a regional system in 2007, and Rogers had proposed 29 hours a week of local and regional programming. But that proposal was not turned into a condition of licence, and their current licence, which expires in 2015, has no provision for local programming, ethnic or otherwise.

They stopped producing regional daily newscasts in 2011, and now they have no original programming at all.

We’ll see if the CRTC has something to say about the complete lack of original programming when those licences come up for renewal.

Statement from Rogers 

Statement from Scott Moore, President of Broadcast, Rogers Media, regarding CityNews Channel and OMNI Television:

“Today, we made changes to the company’s television strategy to reflect evolving viewer habits and the global structural shift in advertising.

“Moving forward, we will focus our broadcast news resources in Toronto on 680News and CityNews on City, and as a result, have ceased operations of CityNews Channel, effective immediately.  Given the changing marketplace, programming changes have also been made at OMNI Television: the English-language South Asian newscast is no longer being offered and production operations in Alberta have ceased.  We remain committed to ethnic programming and will deliver news in four other languages, as well as continue to air programming in more than 40 languages.

“Today’s changes impact 2.5 per cent of the company’s broadcast workforce.  While difficult, these changes enable us to continue to focus our efforts where we know the market is growing, while helping us to effectively manage our costs.”

Quebecor, Rogers announce wireless network sharing deal

An odd thing to announce at 8:45pm, but Quebecor just sent out a press release saying they’ve come to a 20-year deal with Rogers to create a shared LTE wireless network in Quebec and Ottawa.

I don’t know much more than what’s in the release: The two companies will pool their resources to create a shared network, but maintain their operational independence. This deal follows a similar one between Telus and Bell to share their LTE network.

There are some side-effects to this. For one, Quebecor hints at expanding its handset lineup. Since the only one people care about is the iPhone, I’ve asked if this is the plan. I’ll let you know what they say.

The deal also includes an option for Rogers to purchase Videotron’s unused AWS spectrum in greater Toronto for $180 million. This is important in the context of other new wireless players like Mobilicity and Wind Mobile deciding putting themselves up for sale. Mobilicity has already agreed to a sale to Telus and Wind may also sell to one of the three major incumbents. A partnership between Videotron and Rogers adds to the impression that Canada simply isn’t large enough for more competition in wireless.

Or it might not.

Rogers says it’s willing to buy TSN 690

See also my story on this in The Gazette.

Could this be the future of CKGM?

Could this be the future of CKGM?

Though it had seemed cool to the idea previously, Rogers says it is now willing to make a “reasonable offer” to Bell Media to purchase CKGM (TSN Radio 690) and keep it running in its English-language all-sports format.

The revelation came through Rogers’s final submission to the CRTC dated Wednesday. Most of it focused on Rogers’s position that Bell should not be allowed to acquire The Movie Network. But it also included a proposal to solve the problem of the Montreal English radio market and the fate of the money-losing all-sports station.

The full submission can be read here. The relevant paragraphs are these:

45. Finally, on the separate issue of the radio station CKGM-AM and Bell Media’s proposal to obtain an exception to the Commission’s common ownership policy, the Bell/Astral panel indicated during the hearing that it would consider shutting the station down if the Commission did not allow Bell Media to operate 4 radio stations in the Montreal market. We understand that Bell Media was concerned that if an exception to the common ownership policy was not granted, then radio listeners in Montreal would be denied access to sports radio in that city.

46. With that concern in mind, Rogers Media is informing the Commission that it would be prepared to make Bell a reasonable offer to acquire CKGM-AM and that we would be prepared to operate it as an English sports radio service. Given our sports properties (which include the Fan 590 in Toronto) and the fact that we now have a presence in the Montreal market with our recent acquisition of CJNT-DT, Rogers Media is confident that it has the infrastructure in place to operate the station profitably.

47. If there are concerns that there would be no buyers for CKGM-AM and that Montreal radio listeners would be deprived of a sports service, we believe that our commitment to make a reasonable offer for the station should allay them.

This would seem to solve both the problem of Bell owning too many stations in the market and of wanting to keep an all-sports station here. But there are some caveats. First of all, the station wouldn’t be called TSN 690 anymore. Bell has no intention of licensing the brand, and Rogers wouldn’t want it anyway. So it would probably be called Sportsnet 690 The Fan (which would be easily confused with Fan stations at 960 and 590).

More importantly, Bell has said that if it sold the station it would not sublicense radio broadcast rights to Canadiens games, instead moving them to CJAD. And CJAD is already the broadcaster for Alouettes and Impact games. So The Fan wouldn’t start off with much in the way of local broadcast rights.

Nevertheless, Rogers is obviously aware of this, and feels it can make the station profitable, thanks to its recent acquisition of CJNT, which gives Rogers its first broadcast property in the market. Sportsnet’s existing resources in Montreal, added to those that will work on a weekly sports show on CJNT, and the national resources of Sportsnet TV and radio, will also help.

It’s unclear if Rogers was one of the two players that Bell told the CRTC had made “informal” inquiries about CKGM. We do know that the other was Tietolman-Tétrault-Pancholy Media, which has licences for news-talk AM stations in English and French and is waiting for a decision from the CRTC on an application for a French-language AM sports station in the market. Tietolman has not hidden that he would be willing to acquire CJAD in particular, and possibly other stations put up for sale as well.

Rogers was asked about acquiring this station during last year’s Bell-Astral hearing. They weren’t terribly enthusiastic, but didn’t dismiss the idea either. Here’s what Susan Wheeler, Rogers’s VP of regulatory affairs, told the commission on Sept. 12:

Certainly, we would be interested in expanding our sports radio network across the country. So that’s certainly something of interest to us. Whether it’s a viable business model without the Canadiens rights I think is something that we would have to do the math on.

But I also, I guess, would question the limitations that Bell, you know, has said in previous testimony that they don’t have the rights to sub-license the Canadiens rights. So I’m wondering whether that’s something the Commission could look into further.

Bell has until May 21 to provide a final written reply to the commission on this and other issues brought up by interveners based on new information brought up at the hearing.

UPDATE (May 21): Bell says this is the first it hears of Rogers being interested in the station, and “we question the sincerity of this claim.” Bell also questions why Rogers is only bringing this up now, instead of in its original intervention or at the hearing.

The full paragraph about CKGM in Bell’s reply is here:

Rogers made a last minute claim that they would make a reasonable offer to purchase CKGM and operate it as a English-language sports service. We question the sincerity of this claim or its appropriateness at this stage in the process given the guidelines the Commission set for final Intervener comments. There is no actual evidence on the record that they would or could make such an offer or that they could viably operate CKGM as a sports service. The claim was raised for the first time in the final paragraphs of their final comments after not having even been hinted at one time in the whole course of the proceeding even though the exception to the Common Ownership Policy for CKGM has been a consistent part of our application since it was filed. Even since this surprise announcement, Rogers has not attempted to contact Bell Media about this possibility.

Rogers proposes two television stations to replace CJNT

Back in May, when Rogers and Channel Zero announced that they had reached an agreement to buy CJNT from the latter and turn it into a Citytv-branded station (with it becoming a Citytv affiliate in the meantime), it was unclear whether it would remain Montreal’s only ethnic television station. Rogers Media President of Broadcast, Scott Moore, couldn’t be pinned down either way on what, if any, amendments to the station’s licence the media giant would propose as part of the purchase.

On Sept. 5, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission published the application for transfer of ownership, and we learn that, in fact, Rogers is asking to change Citytv from an ethnic station into an English one, or at least to relieve it of a condition of licence requiring 75% of programming from 8pm to 10pm be ethnic in nature (a condition that previous owners have tried and failed to have relieved).

But this request comes with a twist: In exchange for turning CJNT into an English station, Rogers proposes to support a brand new television station in Montreal whose programming would be almost entirely ethnic in nature. The new station, which would be the 10th over-the-air television station in Montreal, would be run by an independent group and would include some of the same programming that used to air on CJNT.

During this week, I’ll be speaking with the principal parties involved (Rogers, Channel Zero and the independent group proposing the new station). In the meantime, here’s what the applications themselves say.

Citytv Montreal

“The acquisition of CJNT-TV and its conversion to an English-language commercial television station will allow RBL to establish an over-the-air television presence for Citytv in Montréal. This is a key step towards making Citytv more competitive with CTV and Global in terms of programming and our ability to access network advertising revenues.”

Rogers has made clear its intention for a more national footprint for the Citytv network, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this week. Advertisers treat Citytv, which has no stations east of Toronto, as a small regional player, and Rogers wants that to change. So it signed an affiliation agreement with three small-market western stations in the Jim Pattison Group, and acquired Saskatchewan educational network SCN, rebranding it Citytv Saskatchewan. And it acquired CJNT in Montreal.

The network still isn’t complete. There’s no station in Atlantic Canada, and only a retransmitter in Ottawa. But these moves have increased the network’s reach about 27%.

Being a national advertising player is a priority for Rogers, so much so that it’s willing to lose a lot of money on a Citytv station in Montreal:

“In terms of revenue potential, Citytv has a very limited ability to sell network advertising. National advertising buyers want access to top quality programming on national networks with extensive audience reach to meet their clients’ needs in the most efficient way possible. They naturally look first to CTV and Global for network buy opportunities, as these networks have the national reach that they are seeking. Citytv network buys may be considered to fill the gaps, but only after the buyers have exhausted their advertising opportunities with the large national networks.”

Purchase price

The application lists a purchase price for CJNT: $10.3 million. That breaks down as about $550,000 for the actual assets (mostly transmission assets, as Rogers isn’t interested in the existing studios or programming rights), and the rest for the licence itself. When Channel Zero bought CJNT in 2009, it was in a package deal with CHCH in Hamilton for $12, along with commitments to cover the stations’ liabilities.

If we consider a $6 purchase price and a $10.3 million sale price, that’s a 171,666,667% return on investment in just three years for Channel Zero, or 57,222,222% a year. That’s about 10 million times the rate on my RRSP.

From the Rogers application, we also learn a bit about Channel Zero’s motives, including the fact that it took the station mainly so it could get CHCH:

Channel Zero’s primary consideration was the acquisition of CHCH-TV; however, it was clear that the stations were being sold as a package and Channel Zero was enthused by the opportunity to acquire an ethnic station in one of Canada’s greatest cities.

Channel Zero has invested just under $500,000 on technical upgrades to the CJNT-TV facility including converting the transmission facilities to digital. It has also created new office facilities and has funded operating losses which are expected to total $1.5 million by the end of the current broadcast year.

This is consistent with criticisms that while Channel Zero has invested a lot of time, energy and money into programming at CHCH, it has all but ignored CJNT. (Though, the application also correctly points out that if Channel Zero had not bought CJNT in 2009, the station would likely have been shut down.)

The big question, though, is why Rogers is bothering with this when it could just apply for a new licence for a new television station, and leave CJNT to remain ethnic. The CRTC asked the same question, and here is Rogers’s response:

Montreal, as a major English-language television market, remains a key part of our expansion strategy. As such, we have looked at number of options to monetize Citytv’s programming in this market including applying for a new licence, applying for a rebroadcast transmitter, negotiating broad distribution and simultaneous substitution with local distributors and available acquisition opportunities.

The purchase of CJNT-TV was the most attractive of these options as it represented the fastest and most predictable entry into the market and would allow us to start monetizing our programming in the upcoming broadcast year.

The other point made is that if Rogers tried to start a new station, Channel Zero and CJNT would probably be first in line to oppose it.

It’s through the related application presented for this CRTC hearing that we learn that Channel Zero had originally planned to ask the CRTC to convert CJNT from an ethnic station into an English station, similar to what Rogers is proposing now. Channel Zero and the group behind the new ethnic station project came up with this joint proposal in order to allow CJNT to become English without depriving Montreal of its only ethnic television station.

If the Rogers acquisition is denied, Channel Zero is apparently still interested in converting CJNT into an English station. From Rogers’s application:

In the event the Commission denies the proposed transaction, 2209005 (the licensee of CJNT) intends to apply to the Commission to convert CJNT-TV into an English-language television station as it does not believe the station is viable, on a long-term basis, as an ethnic station based on its current business model. RBL (Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.) has also been informed by 2209005 that should the Commission deny the proposed transaction that it will strongly oppose any applications for a new English-language television station to serve Montreal, as 2209005’s intention is to apply for an English-language television station in Montreal.


Proposed Citytv schedule for CJNT (PDF)

As previously stated in May, Rogers’s plan for CJNT would not include a daily evening newscast, since Montreal already has three of those (CTV, CBC and Global). Instead, most of a Montreal Citytv station’s local programming would come through a local morning show called Breakfast Television Montreal, which would run from 6am to 9am weekdays. This is consistent with Citytv’s other (non-Toronto) local stations, which also rely on Breakfast Television for most of their local programming.

The application describes the proposed morning show as “a mix of local news, information and entertainment programming focused exclusively on the Montréal market.” It also touts the “community” focus of the shows, covering everything from cultural events to fundraisers.

The other local show would be a weekly sports show, which in its application Rogers calls “Connected Montréal”:

RBL will also launch a weekly half-hour sports program, to be known as Connected Montréal, dedicated to covering the best in professional, amateur, university, CEGEP, and junior league sports in the Greater Montréal area. Currently, there are no programs on television that showcase the talented athletes and coaches that make-up this rich and diverse sporting community. We intend to focus on the positive influences sports bring to young people, community building, and the historical and cultural fabric of Montréal.

This show will include a mix of game highlights; team, athlete and coach profiles; and analysis from a wide variety of local sporting events. This program will be uplifting and motivational, providing Montréalers with the opportunity to celebrate their city’s athletic achievements.

The proposed programming grid lists a one-hour program called “The Fan” that would air Sundays at 6pm and repeat Mondays. The half-hour option seems to be the more recent of the two. It’s not clear at this point when exactly the show would air, but likely on weekends with at least one repeat, Moore tells me.

With 15 hours for the morning show and half an hour for the sports show (repeated once), the station would produce 15.5 hours of original local programming a week, and air 16 hours including the repeat.

Citytv Montreal would also air Citytv network programming as it does now, including Cityline and programs like The Bachelor Canada.

But the big thing is U.S. programming. The reason Rogers wants more local stations (as opposed to distant-signal carriage on local distributors) is to benefit from simultaneous substitution. The real losers here aren’t CFCF or CKMI, they’re WPTZ, WFFF, WVNY and WCAX, who will lose a big chunk of what non-substituted primetime programming it has left.

Plan B: An ethnic station

Rogers’s application proposes an alternative if the CRTC decides against turning CJNT into an English station:

“RBL would be prepared to respect the current licensee’s commitment to provide 14 hours of local ethnic programming each week, provided that the word “original” is deleted. We would be prepared to accept the revised commitment as a (condition of licence) in the licence to be issued for CJNT-TV as an ethnic station.”

But more importantly, Rogers needs the requirement that 75% of programming from 8 to 10pm be ethnic to be removed, as well as another similar condition requiring that at least 50% of programming between 6pm and midnight be ethnic. Without those licence changes at minimum, Rogers says it will walk away from the deal.

“Without these changes to CJNT-TV’s licence our purchase of the station no longer has any strategic value to our broadcast group.”

If the CRTC doesn’t buy the two-station plan, Rogers may have a tough time convincing the CRTC to move forward with this change. The CRTC has already twice denied previous owners’ applications to have this condition removed.

It’s not clear at this point what Rogers would do as far as local ethnic programming in case CJNT remains an ethnic station under its control. But it would not air an English morning show if the station remains ethnic.


Rogers’s proposed five-year budget for an English-language CJNT shows it would lose between $6 million and $7 million each year as an English station, and in fact it would get worse rather than getting better. The largest expense, about half its total, would be for the acquisition of American programming. Less than half of that, about $3 million a year, would be spent on Canadian programming, including its local shows.

Under the second proposed scenario, where Rogers buys CJNT but it remains an ethnic station (relieved of its obligation to air 75% ethnic programming from 8 to 10pm), it would spend only about $1 million a year on Canadian programming and about $6-7 million on U.S. programs, but would lose slightly less money every year.

Technical parameters

No changes are being proposed to the technical setup of CJNT. It would remain on digital channel 49 (virtual channel 62.1), transmitting from a small tower on the roof of the CTV/TVA transmission building next to the Mount Royal tower, with 4 kilowatts effective radiated power.

Rogers proposes its licence for CJNT expire on Aug. 31, 2016, which is when CJNT’s current licence expires.


ICI (International Channel / Canal International) is a project of Mohammad Nowrouzzahrai and his family, who want to bring Montreal’s ethnic television station back to its roots. Nowrouzzahrai produced a Persian program for Télévision Ethnique du Québec, which was a public access cable channel and became an over-the-air broadcaster in 1997 as CJNT. It was sold to WIC in 1999, and became a Canwest station when Canwest bought WIC.

Mohammad’s son Sam, who worked for him in the TEQ days, runs the day-to-day operations at Mi-Cam Communications, a production company owned by his father which created programs for CJNT in its early days. According to the application, Sam Nowrouzzahrai, aka Sam Norouzi, would continue in this role at ICI.

Because the ICI project predates the announced sale of CJNT to Rogers, the plan does not consider Rogers’s involvement locally. And with the announcement that Rogers is buying CJNT, the plan doesn’t change much. But there’s an additional bonus for ICI, in that Rogers has proposed to use the tangible benefits package of $1 million (10% of the $10 million purchase price) to help fund the ICI station and offset its losses. This is additional money that ICI’s original plan hadn’t considered. (If the ICI station is denied, Rogers plans to put the money to other uses.)

Because it gets funding from Channel Zero, the ICI application is dependent on the sale of CJNT to Rogers. Otherwise, the two would both be ethnic stations competing with each other.

But the group behind ICI insists that it is not contingent on Rogers converting CJNT from an ethnic station into an English-language one. Though it admits that the business case becomes a lot tougher (particularly if it doesn’t get that $1 million in benefits money), it feels that it could continue while competing with CJNT. ICI’s plan does not involve OMNI programming, which CJNT currently airs a lot of as a Citytv affiliate.

Rogers, however, is less convinced that Montreal could support two ethnic TV stations:

“…we believe there is increased potential for brand confusion and audience fragmentation as a result of having two ethnic stations in the market. Based on the above, and given CJNT-TV’s financial history, it is not clear to RBL that there is room for two ethnic stations in the Montreal market.”

It’s hard to imagine the CRTC ruling in such a way that we get two ethnic stations, considering the precarious history of the existing one. If ICI is approved, expect Rogers to get its wish for a fully English station.


The channel would be run by 4517466 Canada Inc., a company owned 90% by five members of the Nowrouzzahrai family (specifically, Mohammad Nowrouzzahrai, his wife and three children). Another 5% would be owned by Marie Griffiths, who used to own part of CJNT and is the controlling owner of Groupe CHCR, which runs Montreal ethnic radio stations CKDG (Mike FM) and CKIN-FM. The other 5% is “to be determined.”


The group would be financed by up to $1 million from Channel Zero’s Movieola subsidiary, as well as about $1 million in benefits from Rogers (over five years) that come from the tangible benefits package from its acquisition of CJNT.

The station would have an operating budget of about $3.5 million for each of its first seven years, with programming in the news, music/variety and entertainment magazine formats. There would also be about 14% of its programming budget spent on non-Canadian programs.

Its revenue, entirely through local advertising, would start around that level and eventually increase to $6.5 million by the end of its first seven-year licence term. The station would be profitable by the third year, and making almost $2 million in Year 7.

That sounds incredibly optimistic. To put it in perspective, according to the same application, the English stations combined received about $8 million a year in local advertising in the six years up to 2009, and $10 million in 2009-10. And CFCF currently has about 100 times the audience of CJNT.


According to the application, the station would operate as a producer’s cooperative. This means the producers of individual shows would be responsible for their own budgets, and for selling their own advertising. The application explains the structure this way:

Ici proposes a channel that will operate very much like a co-operative in that each of the individual language producers will be able to shape their program as their own business within the overall business structure that ici will create. Each of the producers will own the advertising inventory within their own programming and therefore be in a position to generate revenue through the sale of advertising to the community that they know best. The producer’s will in turn provide a share of these revenues to ici in exchange for the services which ici will provide.

This makes sense, in that the individual producers are closer to their communities than any central ad sales staff could be. But it also means that more of the risk would be on the shoulders of the individual producers. Many would probably end up producing their shows on a volunteer basis.


Proposed programming schedule for ICI (PDF)

Programming for ICI would originate from a small studio (74 square metres) on Christophe Colomb Ave. in Ahuntsic, at the home of Mi-Cam Communications.

The programming would be in 15 languages and directed to 18 ethnic groups, including:

  • Italian
  • Latino
  • Arab (including: Lebanese, Egyptian, Moroccan, Algerian)
  • Portuguese
  • Greek
  • Haitian
  • Polish
  • Armenian
  • Persian
  • Romanian
  • African (French)
  • Russian
  • German
  • Afghan
  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Chinese

The largest chunk of programming would be Italian (31%, including most of the weekday afternoon schedule), followed by Arabic (10%), Spanish (8%), Greek (3%) and Mandarin/Cantonese (2.5%).

Some of the programs previously produced for CJNT would find a new home on ICI. The application includes signed letters from hosts and staff of Chinese, Bangladesh, African and Egyptian programs that aired on CJNT, as well as potential producers of other programs, that are willing and excited to sign on to this project.

In all, the programming grid proposes 33 shows of half an hour or an hour in length, almost all of them locally-produced weekly shows. Shows appearing more often include a one-hour yoga show weekdays at 7am,, and a Hellenic show and a Greek show that would each be produced twice a week. Most shows would be repeated at least once on another day.

Monday and Thursday evenings, from 7pm to 11pm, the channel would air Teleritmo, which consists mainly of music videos in Spanish.

Despite the involvement of Rogers, which came after the original application for this station was submitted, there are no significant plans for OMNI programming on ICI, even if CJNT is stripped of its ethnic station status. “We do not envision OMNI programming being a significant portion of the ici schedule,” the application says.

Also unlike OMNI (and CJNT under Canwest, Channel Zero and as a Citytv affiliate), the ICI station would not air significant English-language programming during primetime (or at all, really). It says this is because of the way the industry has changed in the past decade. Rather than each station in a market acquiring programming, the large players (Bell, Rogers, Shaw) buy U.S. programs on a national basis, leaving little room for small broadcasters. So instead of trying to put some high-profit U.S. programs in primetime (and take advantage of simultaneous substitution to steal some ad revenue), the station is abandoning this practice and focusing entirely on ethnic programming. It does leave open the door to airing some U.S. programs, however, particularly those that are acquired by other independent stations like CHCH in Hamilton.

Though there are no definitive plans for programming synergies with Rogers, the application does expect Rogers and Ici to collaborate on national ethnic ad sales if CJNT becomes an English station.

The revised application also suggests news gathering resource sharing between ICI and Citytv, much like OMNI and City share resources in other markets, with the same visuals being used by both but with different reporters in different languages.

Master control would either be shared between Rogers and ICI, or if that doesn’t work, ICI says it is prepared to rent master control facilities from other broadcasters.

Conditions of licence

The ICI application proposes to replicate most of CJNT’s current conditions of licence, namely:

  • At least 60% ethnic programming between 6am and midnight
  • At least 60% ethnic programming between 6pm and midnight
  • At least 75% ethnic programming between 8pm and 10pm
  • At least 55% Canadian programming between 6am and midnight
  • At least 50% Canadian programming between 6pm and midnight
  • Ethnic programming directed at at least 18 ethnic groups and in at least 15 languages each month
  • 100% closed captioning of programming, including all advertising in English and French by Year 4
In addition, the station proposes, like CJNT, to have a minimum of 14 hours of local programming a week. The actual proposed programming grid would, in fact, be double this, not including repeats. Including repeats of local programming, more than half its broadcast day and almost all of primetime would be locally produced. If they could pull this off, it would put Montreal’s private English broadcasters to shame.

Proposed transmission pattern for “ICI” would be directional, with a triangular shape.


ICI would operate on Channel 47 (it had originally proposed Channel 51), with a transmitter on the Bell tower on Mount Royal (just west of the main CBC tower). That’s the same tower CFCF used when it was operating a temporary digital transmitter (also on Channel 51). Because the plan for this new station began before CFCF left that channel, they decided to move to Channel 47. Industry Canada also has a moratorium on issuing new broadcasting certificates for Channel 51.

The transmitter would put out a maximum 5,500 watts ERP at a height of 196 metres. This puts it about on par with CJNT’s current signal, for those wondering if they’d be able to capture it.

Unlike CJNT, which is carried by many distribution services, ICI expects it would not get satellite carriage, and so would rely solely on local cable systems (which are required by law to carry all local over-the-air stations). About two-thirds of Montreal’s English population and 80% of the francophone population either get cable or rely on over-the-air reception, according to the application’s estimates.

The CRTC is considering these two applications at a hearing to begin Nov. 7 in Gatineau. The deadline for comments is 8pm Eastern Time on Oct. 5. To submit an intervention, click here, choose Option 1, then choose “2012-0756-4: Rogers Broadcasting Limited” (for the CJNT application) and/or “2012-0175-6: 4517466 Canada Inc.” (for the ICI application).