CRTC Ruling Upholds Rogers' Responsibilities to Multilingual Programming Says Union

Aug 1, 2014

Source: Broadcaster Magazine

A Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission ruling rebuffed Rogers Broadcasting Limited's request for sweeping regulatory relief for its OMNI ethnic television chain in spite of recent financial losses at those five stations.

In the same decision, the CRTC will require Rogers to enhance its commitments to original local programming broadcast from its national chain of City stations.

"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."

Rogers applied for a renewal of their City and OMNI licences in the fall of 2013 with a proposal to reduce commitments to ethnic and Canadian programming, particularly during the prime time evening period. Unifor testified before the Commission in April 2014, arguing that Rogers' claims about revenue problems at the OMNI stations were over-reaching and under-documented.

"This ruling is a victory for growing newcomer communities who rely on this programming," said Law. "We are very pleased the Commission stood firm. But we feel strongly that Rogers can do even better for ethnic and local programming in the future."

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