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CRTC Revokes, Renews Rogers OMNI License in Group Based Decision

Aug 1, 2014

Source: Mediacaster Magazine

A Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruling has both revoked and renewed the broadcasting licences for the multi-ethnic and multilingual conventional OMNI television station.

The Commission’s decision brings the station’s license into the same two year renewal cycle that other Rogers properties face.

In its decision, the CRTC took a long look at Rogers Broadcasting Ltd and its adherence to the regulatory policy known as ‘the group-based approach‘ which pools together many of the media conglomerates outlets into designated groups for the purposes of assessing license adherence and compliance.

Overall, the CRTC wrote, “Rogers Media Inc. (Rogers) has met the requirements to be considered a designated group for the purposes of the group-based approach set out in a group-based approach to the licensing of private television services, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-167, 22 March 2010.

Specialty channels such as Sportsnet 360, G4TechTV and Outdoor Life received license renewals through to August 2016.

As well, the chain of City television stations and OMNI channels were renewed, with certain qualifications.

In its decision, the Commission did say that Rogers must ensure a minimum amount of local programming, and that certain hours be broadcast each evening on designated OMNI channels, and that Rogers should enhance its commitments to original local programming broadcast from its national chain of City stations.

Some critics and interveners saw the CRTC decision as a “rebuff” of Rogers and its request for regulatory relief for its OMNI ethnic television chain.

"Multiculturalism is part of what makes Canada great, and we fought to keep ethnic and third language services alive in Rogers' licence," said Unifor Media Sector Director Howard Law. "Rogers Communications is a very profitable corporation and can easily afford to maintain the current level of programming at OMNI, diminished as it is."

The CRTC wrote, in part:

With respect to the “City” television stations, the Commission renews, under its group-based approach, the broadcasting licences for the English-language conventional television stations CJNT-DT Montréal; CITY-DT Toronto and its transmitters CITY-DT-2 Woodstock and CITY-DT-3 Ottawa; CHMI-DT Portage La Prairie/Winnipeg; CKAL-DT Calgary and its transmitter CKAL-DT-1 Lethbridge; CKEM-DT Edmonton and its transmitter CKEM-TV-1 Red Deer; and CKVU-DT Vancouver and its transmitters CKVU-TV-1 Courtenay and CKVU-DT-2 Victoria, from 1 September 2014 to 31 August 2016.

The Commission also renews, under its group-based approach, the broadcasting licences for the national, English-language specialty Category A services The Biography Channel, G4TechTV, Outdoor Life Network and Sportsnet 360, from 1 September 2014 to 31 August 2016.

In addition, the Commission renews the broadcasting licences for the national, English-language specialty Category B service Sportsnet World and the national, English-language specialty Category C service Sportsnet, from 1 September 2014 to 31 August 2016.

Finally, with respect to the “OMNI” stations, as agreed to by the applicant, effective 1 September 2014, the Commission revokes the broadcasting licences for the multi-ethnic and multilingual conventional OMNI television stations CFMT-DT Toronto (OMNI.1) and its transmitters CFMT-DT-1 London and CFMT-DT-2 Ottawa; CJMT-DT Toronto (OMNI.2) and its transmitters CJMT-DT-1 London and CJMT-DT-2 Ottawa; CJCO-DT Calgary (OMNI AB); CJEO-DT Edmonton (OMNI AB); and CHNM-DT Vancouver (OMNI BC) and its transmitter CHNM-DT-1 Victoria. The Commission will issue new broadcasting licences for these undertakings, which will take effect 1 September 2014 and expire 31 August 2016. This will have the effect of aligning the OMNI stations with a two-year renewal cycle along with other Rogers properties.

© Mediacaster Magazine