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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Save Local TV Rally

This is making the rounds...

CTV will be hosting a public event on Saturday, May 23rd at Portage Place at 11 AM to call attention to the alarming issues facing local television here in Manitoba and across the country.

I have been following the debate, even caught some of Fecan's and other presentations to the CRTC last month.

In a nutshell, local broadcasters want a piece of the "fee for carriage" pie. When you receive TV via cable, whether it be TSN, Vision, CNN, or Peachtree from Atlanta, a part of your cable bill is a fee that goes to that station. Old fashioned "terrestrial" broadcasters, here it would be channel 5 (formerly CKY), 12 (formerly CKND) don't receive such a fee.

The cable companies have branded any fee for carriage to carry local stations a "tax" and have hinted that smaller local broadcasters could be dropped from the dial.

Now, I am not exacly a fan of either side in this debate but have to say that I'll hold my nose and come down in favour of the broadcasters in this one. If a chip of my cable bill is going toward some Atlanta- based tv station chosen by Rogers or Shaw a few nickels of it shoold go to the local station producing the local news etc.

The chance for abuse, of course, is great. Even with extra millions for CTV, Global, CityTV etc. nobody has trotted out an assurance that local programming WILL get any better - or even stay the same - as now. Before I would go 100% on side with broadcasters I'd want to see more on exacly how will my few extra cents "save local TV".

Related stories:
CRTC fee for carriage in plain English
- NSI
Threats, confusion, accusations - Reality TV CRTC style
- Globe and Mail
TV Fee-for-carriage bailout would hit consumers: Rogers
- CP
Broadcasters Need More Funds to Keep the Status Quo
- FP

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