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January 12, 2016 12:31 pm  #1

CRTC Says No To Forcing Rogers To Reinstate OMNI Newscasts

You may remember the uproar from ethnic communities a while ago when Rogers suddenly cut all its foreign language newscasts from its OMNI stations - along with a large number of staffers who worked on them. Both the union repping those dismissed employees (UNIFOR) and the Urban Alliance on Race Relations issued a complaint to the CRTC to try and get those nightly casts restored.

But the Commission has decided Rogers didn't violate any conditions of its licence by cancelling the shows, despite replacing them with what is generally acknowledged to be inferior "current affairs programming" that - surprise! - is far cheaper to produce. So they've denied requests or a hearing on the matter, saying it's not within their purview. This despite the fact that at a 2014 licence renewal hearing, then boss Keith Pelly assured the CRTC Rogers had no intention of cutting its newscasts, despite a difficult economic situation for conventional broadcasters.

Perhaps what's most interesting about this is two things. The decision was announced on the same day that the CRTC has issued a call for "discussions" about what local television stations must offer - most especially, professional local newscasts. "A survey conducted as part of ... [Let's Talk TV] revealed that 81% of Canadians believe that local news is important. In this light, the CRTC wishes to discuss future approaches for ensuring access to local information and community access programming on multiple platforms."

And our old friend, Commissioner Raj Shoan, issued one of his now infamous dissent diatribes, essentially saying he completely disagrees with the Commission's OMNI ruling and would like to see a total review of the Ethnic Broadcasting policy at most and at least, a hearing to discuss what Rogers did.

In any language, it's a clusterf**k. 

CRTC Denies Request For Return Of OMNI News

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Last edited by RadioActive (January 12, 2016 10:23 pm)