Looking ahead to May

May 1, 2009 – It’s been a pretty interesting week (understatement!), so I thought I’d drop you a quick line.

CBC/Radio-Canada had two important appearances this week: mine before the Heritage Committee on Monday and another by Steven Guiton, Richard Stursberg, Sylvain Lafrance, Louis Lalande, François Conway and Bev Kirshenblatt before the CRTC on Wednesday. Both gave us the chance to press for urgent solutions to the problem that plague the conventional broadcasting industry.

There’s a fundamental systemic imbalance that needs to be fixed. That, we all know. And it affects us all, public or private, since Canada has a public-private system. I suspect you’ve all caught wind of the rumours about help for the private broadcasters. I don’t know any more than you do about them but, at least this week, we had the chance to make the case that we shouldn’t be excluded from any solution that’s brought to bear to remedy the imbalance, whether that solution is fee-for-carriage, the Local Programming Improvement Fund, the Canada Media Fund, or anything else.

I think our message got through in both appearances. Certainly, I was pleased to hear the CRTC chair reaffirm yesterday that CBC/Radio-Canada will be a full participant in the Local Programming Improvement Fund. This will no doubt bolster our ability to remain deeply rooted in the regions. And it was also good to hear Minister Moore reaffirm yesterday in his own appearance before the Heritage Committee recognize CBC/Radio-Canada as a “great Public Broadcaster” and also reaffirms that we will again get this year the $60 million in special programming funding that it has gotten every year since 2001 (though it still requires Governor-in-Council sign-off).

On a regulatory note, you should also know that the CRTC has administratively renewed all of our licences with the same existing terms and conditions for one year, until August 31, 2010.

It had been the CRTC’s intention to require CBC/Radio-Canada to file renewal applications for these services in May 2009 and to proceed with a public hearing to consider renewal applications in September 2009. A one-year administrative renewal is consistent with the Commission’s revised regulatory timetable that is intended to permit a review of major policy issues affecting the conventional television business. The outcome of these proceedings will have a material impact on CBC/Radio-Canada’s licence renewal plans for its services.

Following this summer’s policy review process, it is possible that the CRTC could put our licence renewal hearings on a faster track if it decides to move forward with important financial remedies for the industry such as a fee-for-carriage.

Also, huge congratulations to CBC News at Six for their increased share performance, according to data from the Spring 2009 BBM Canada television diary survey, released yesterday. It’s evidence that good things come from having deep roots in the regions.

Finally, today is the last day for people to apply for the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program. The applications will be reviewed over the next couple of weeks. We remain hopeful that through this program we will be able to reduce the number of people affected by layoffs. Expect to hear more about all of this from me in late-May.

We have a Board of Directors meeting coming up on May 12 and 13. I’ll be touching base with you again after that.

Hang tough.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted May 6, 2009 at 5:49 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I am growing tired of these little “keepin’ my peeps in the loop” notices. Do something to rid the rot that inhabits the CBC. Less talk; more action.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted May 6, 2009 at 5:27 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hey Anonymous at 10:25 PM,

    Good observation. I think it be.

    Has anyone else noticed that most the programs that get axed at the Ceeb get picked up by other networks.

    Congratulations to Search Engine, btw.

  3. Fake Ouimet
    Posted May 5, 2009 at 9:12 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    No canni do.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted May 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Has anybody else noticed that nobody bothers anymore?

    Just saying. I miss Teamakers(‘).

    “Canni get an amen?”

  5. Anonymous
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 8:25 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “….huge congratulations to CBC News at Six for their increased share performance.”

    The numbers went from WHAT to WHAT? What was this increase? You’d think this is something that would be outlined…after all, we are in the information business aren’t we? The truth is that everyone in the Corp. knows the News at Six BBM numbers in most locations are ridiculously low given the investment the CBC makes in them (low ‘return on investment’ speak management lingo). In the meantime, regional radio continues to get gutted despite having proven numbers and proven support and very little cost to the CBC. It simply makes no sense. It’s almost like senior managers are deliberately trying to ruin the Corporation. Could it be?

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