MASSE DECLARES “FIGHT TO SAVE OUR LOCAL TV”: Canadians need local programming-the public airwaves belong to all of us

March 2, 2009

Canadians need local programming-the public airwaves belong to all of us

Windsor, On- Today, Brian Masse, M. P. (Windsor West) and NDP Industry, Automotive, and Border Critic, expressed grave concern that CTV was not renewing the license of the A-channel in Windsor and declared the start of a fight to keep local programming in Canadian communities. He issued the following statement:

“On February 25 CTV announced it was going to shut down the A Channel in Windsor by not renewing the license when it expires. This would eliminate the only private local Canadian TV broadcaster in the Windsor region. As the top rated channel with a significant local programming and Windsor news coverage component this is a blow to the community that is beyond the loss of "just another channel on the cable/satellite list." Free-to-Air TV broadcasters have been the backbone of community awareness and communication for over the past 50 years. It is deemed to be in the public interest which why TV broadcast licenses, which use the public airwave spectrum which owned by all of us, are allocated free of charge to companies as long as local programming, news coverage, and certain amount of Canadian content is broadcast. Everyone with a TV could received the broadcasts for no charge since it being sent over "everyone airwaves."

“Broadcast TV has been a license to print money for decades. It enabled many small companies to grow to become the large media conglomerates that exist today. It has lead to media concentration which has reached unacceptable proportions. These companies such as CTV, which last year spent almost $780 million buying expensive US programs instead of creating more quality Canadian content which succeeds and is seen around the world. Even though major US Broadcast Networks are turning away from this spending and choosing to have more news and talk programming-what residents of this community and across the country are calling for.

“Now CTV claims they are not making enough profit using public resources for free and are demanding for the third time that they want cable and satellite subscribers to pay fees to receive their free over the air broadcasts. CTV and the rest of the broadcasters were turned down on imposing this "TV tax", which would have added up to another $100 a year to subscriber bill, twice before due to the outrage of Canadians on this attempted rip off of consumers. What is even truly outrageous is that even if they get this TV tax they will shut down many of their local TV stations across the country. CTV needs to be told that bullying Canadians and playing games with TV workers' lives while demanding that Ottawa’s bureaucrats approve their gouging of consumers is not going happen. For decades CTV used local TV stations as cash cows and now is the time to stand up for the public interest and keep those stations open and viable by expanding local programming which is more affordable than overpriced American "junk-food TV".

Please take the time to write, call, email, or Fax CTV and demand that Windsor's A-channel station not only stay open but to expand news, talk, and local programming. I am also calling for the CRTC to have hearings into the state of the local TV programming across the Canada and that all national Networks must maintain their local programming mandate in all communities where the network is available. .
We can save our local TV.”