Wednesday, 31 August 2016

CBC Television ditches the last private affiliate, but who really benefits from this?

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CBC is required by Broadcast Act to provide a distinct array of television and radio services and programming to all Canadians reflecting all regions of Canada. Somehow along the way the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has lost the plot in that mandate to provide local programming to many different regions of Canada. Affiliation agreements with local private terrestrial stations helped the CBC with their mandate to serve every region of Canada. Most affiliate agreements helped local terrestrial stations in regards to the cost of maintaining the transmitters and technical equipment. Many affiliate agreements also helped the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation out in regards of distributing CBC or Radio Canada programming to many parts of Canada. Some radio affiliates of CBC were part of the CBC Dominion Network before it's demise in 1962, only a handful of radio affiliate stations of the CBC survived until the late 1970's. and middle 1980's. Radio stations such as CJNR in Blind River, which disaffiliated themselves from CBC Radio in 1986.

Pretty much all terrestrial television stations in Canada, are pretty much owned and operated by the major television networks in Canada now, with some exception to a small percentage of television stations that are privately owned. Some of these privately owned television stations are independent, along with a few that carry network television programming (also known as television affiliates). Most television affiliate agreements are done, by the method of affiliation contractual agreement with Canada's television networks. Which most TV affiliation agreements allowed Canada's television networks, may include certain conditions such as running a certain amount of programming per week. Most television affiliate agreements, also meant local television stations had to carry a certain amount of network television programming for which they agree to, and got compensated for the air time it reserved to the television network. Most of this compensation, helped many local televisions out, in regards to the cost of maintaining the television transmitters, and technical equipment. A large number of these independently owned affiliates, helped the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation distributed most of CBC's television programming across Canada.

There were well over 24 television affiliate agreements with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation at one time in the past, which many of these local television stations helped CBC television cover much of Canada. Most of the CBC Television affiliates either went independent or joined another television network in the last 30 or 40 years. Many of the English terrestrial television affiliates of the CBC, who disaffiliated itself from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, claimed the television programming on the CBC was less lucrative. The minimum 40 hour per week must carry CBC TV programming requirement, set by the CBC at that time was too many hours for some stations, and many local affiliates of the CBC wanted to broadcast more programming that meets the needs of their own market. When a private CBC affiliate, disaffiliated itself from CBC Television, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation would normally set up a rebroadcast station from the nearest owned and operated English television station to cover that void.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation stopped replacing those affiliated with CBC television stations who wanted to disaffiliate themselves from the public broadcaster, with a rebroadcast terrestrial television transmitter in 2006. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation indicated it had not budgeted for the disaffiliation of CFJC, and therefore could not afford to replace CFJC with new a terrestrial transmitter, rebroadcasting CBUT. On February 27th 2006, when CFJC-TV completely disaffiliate themselves from the CBC, which television viewers became solely dependent on cable and satellite from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBUT television station, instead of CBC Television being available terrestrially in Kamloops market. The Broadcasting Act also gives the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation mandatory priority of at least one CBC and Radio Canada television station in Canada's 2 official languages, to be distributed on every cable and  satellite providers most basic subscription television packages they offer to Canadians. Considering that all private television stations in Canada, must maintain a terrestrial television presence in any given market of Canada, in order to get the same mandatory coverage on cable or satellite in that local market CBC gets automaticly. Chuck Thompson from the CBC, claims "They are no longer viable given the very small number of people who view television (terrestrially) over the air,” as the excuse for ending the affiliation agreement with CFTK and CJDC in February of 2016. The CRTC had just approved the disaffiliation of CJDC Dawson Creek and CFTK Terrance from the CBC English language television network on February 19, 2016. Which means CJDC Dawson Creek and CFTK Terrance, can disaffiliate themselves from the English-language television network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, effectively on 22 February 2016, which is documented in CRTC decisions 2016-62 and 2016-63. This automatic must carry clause on cable and satellite in the broadcasting act, could have been the reason why the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation did not want to renew the affiliation agreement with CKSA, the last affiliate of CBC Television?

CKSA-DT is the last remaining CBC television affiliate to disaffiliate itself from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, sometime tomorrow morning (September 1st, 2016) at around 2:00 AM. CBC wrote Newcap (the current owners of CKSA-DT) a letter sent on 20 January 2015, that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation did not want continue an affiliation relationship with CKSA beyond 31 August 2016. Newcap indicated it had no choice but to seek approval from the CRTC to disaffiliate from CBC Television. The CRTC approved Newcap's disaffiliation request from the CBC, which was approved by the CRTC in  Decision 2016-322, on August 10, 2016.  Newcap intends to operate CKSA-DT, as an independent conventional television station and to find alternative television programming from another supplier once the agreement with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which ends on August 31, 2016.

The automatic must carry Radio Canada and CBC Television on every cable and satellite system across Canada, played a huge role in the demise of over 600 analogue rebroadcast televisions of CBC/Radio Canada in 2012. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation using the static that only 1.7 per cent of its viewers will be affected by the change, due to the high penetration of Canadians subscribing television, either from a paid cable or satellite provider. When you factor that only 5% of Canadians tuned CBC Television on during prime time, which also means 95% of Canadians are no longer watching CBC television. These television ratings down makes CBC Television look more like a speciality channel than a true public broadcaster, well before the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation lost the NHL contract to Rogers in 2014. The same 1.7 per cent of Canadians not subscribing to cable or satellite, was the major factor involved in the decision for CBC not the renew the last 6 remaining English television affiliates of the CBC. CKSA will be the very last private terrestrial television to be affiliated with the CBC, which will lose it's affiliation with CBC on September 1 2016 at 2:00AM local time. CBC should provide some sort local programming commitment to Lloydminster, as being Canada's public broadcaster.

The CRTC did not receive any interventions regarding Newcap's application to end the television affiliate agreement with the CBC. Despite CBC Television will no longer be available terrestrially in the affected markets of Lloydminster and Bonnyville Alberta, following disaffiliation from the CBC television network. Sections (a) & (d) in Paragraph 17 of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations, makes a requirement from  every cable and satellite operator in  Lloydminster, must provide a channel spot for CBC television on the very basic subscription tv service they offer. CBC has been using the statics, that only a very few number of Canadians that don't subscribe to a television service such as cable or satellite, as their defence for ending the television agreement with CKSA-DT. Since it will be an mandatory requirement for every cable and satellite company provider in the Lloydminster area of Alberta and Saskatchewan, to add another CBC television channel onto the very basic television line-up, once CKSA stops carrying CBC television programming. Whether it will be CBRT CBXT or CBKT being added on subscription TV in Lloydminster. This additional CBC television channel on every cable and satellite system in Lloydminster, which will be also competing against CKSA-DT as a out of market television competitor.

The CRTC made notation in paragraph 4 of Decision 2016-322, which the CRTC gave approval for CKSA-DT, to disaffiliated its self  from the CBC English-language Television network. Which  the CRTC concluded, that it should be the responsibility of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, to provide radio and television services to Lloydminster, not the private broadcasters responsibility such as CKSA-DT to provide this service. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has no local commitment, in regards to local radio or television service for the residents of Lloydminster. The only terrestrial service CBC will provide to the residents of Lloydminster, will be CBC Radio One programming coming out of Regina Saskatchewan from CBK on 540 AM, which is over 350 kilometres in distance. CBC programming should be made available throughout Canada by the most appropriate and efficient means and as resources become available for the purpose, stated in Section 3 (1)(m)(vii) of the Broadcasting Act. CBC does not offer residents of Lloydminster, terrestrial radio services such as CBC Radio 2, Ici Première, or Ici Musique, which CBC is failing it's obligations to serve Canadians in Lloydminster under the broadcasting act.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation only serves 49% of the Canadian population with regular local English television programming, the other 51% must rely on cable satellite or the internet, in order to receive CBC English television service, from the nearest owned and operated station of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Most of this local English programming is kept to a bare minimum television newscast in 14 selective communities across Canada. Many of the 14 bare minimum newscasts that the CBC offers to Canadians, may not cover many news stories outside of these selective communities in their local televised English newscasts, with some exception to the Arctic region of Canada. So where is the commitment of CBC's obligations under the broadcasting act.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, had a bigger commitment to serve Canada's north with regular television programming, which was known at the time as the Frontier Coverage Package. Starting in the late 1960's, CBC did provide basic limited television programming to remote and northern communities of Canada. Most of this television programming was provided to a few selective communities, which the CBC could only broadcast 4 hour a day of television programming. This was due to the fact the most television programming came to the north on video tape, flown in from the south. CBC provided at least 4 hours videotape to many remote communities in Canada's north. Often refereed by broadcasters (the "bicycle" method) as the preferred method in television syndication, which helped distribute CBC television programming to many communities in Canada's north, well before satellite distribution made it possible to send programming more efficiently. Most television programming had some delays as the tapes were flown in by plane from the south, which could have delayed television programming from one week for larger centres like Yellowknife, to almost a month for smaller communities like Inuvik.

CBC Television had 6 terrestrial television stations in the Yukon, 14 in the Northwest Territories, and 12 in Nunavut. Most of those terrestrial stations were just simply rebroadcasting CBC North, without any original television programming for many of these communities. The Yellowknife station also known as CFYK, started out in 1967 as the first terrestrial television in Canada's north. CFYK was known for many years, just as a terrestrial television station that redistributed CBC North. On February 2011, the CRTC formally licensed CFYK as full terrestrial broadcast television station. The CRTC also revoked the licences of the radio communication distribution undertakings of CBC North, which included Fort Providence, Hay River, Inuvik, Rae/Edzo (Belchoko), and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; Cape Dorset, Nunavut; and Dawson City, Watson Lake, and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, upon issuing of the television licence for CFYK in decision 2011-107. CRTC simply changed all terrestrial television stations licensed to the CBC in Canada's 3 northern territories, into rebroadcast television stations of CFYK Yellowknife. A few years later the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation closed down, every rebroadcast terrestrial television (including those rebroadcasting CFYK). Nunavut Yukon and most of the Northwest Territories, are the some of the places in Canada that CBC television is no longer available terrestrially. Subscription to cable satellite or on-line streaming is the only method to get CBC television outside of Yellowknife in Canada's 3 northern territories.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has lost the plot to serve all Canadians with distinct local television  programming. Many Canadians have tolerated over the years to CBC's approach of less localised programming to many regions across Canada, but when the CBC close down every single repeat transmitter in 2012 in order to save ten million annually. When the operational costs to maintain over 600 analogue rebroadcast stations, only costs the average Canadian roughly around 29 cents per year (based on the estimated population of 33 million in 2011). Still more cost efficient than cable or satellite subscription, which costs an average Canadian household of four around $50.00 per month ($150 annually for the average member living in a household of four), to access CBC television (outside the designated 14 local English television markets). Terrestrial television is being used by the CBC as an inefficient method of broadcasting, due to the high penetration of cable and satellite subscribers among Canadians. Less than five percent of Canadians may not subscribe to a paid television service, which is unacceptable for the CBC to use any statistic as an excuse, not to provide distinct local English television for more than half of Canada.

As mentioned in the 2011-203 decision under paragraph 6 under applicant's reply to the CRTC. The CBC reiterated its commitment to operate 27 digital transmitters where it operates stations and originates local programming. It also stated that Over The Air (terrestrial) transmission is no longer the most appropriate and efficient means of making its television services available throughout Canada. The yearly cost of operating these 600 plus rebroadcast analogue television transmitters in 2012, including the rebroadcast ones of CFYK, only counted for about 1% of the federal funding CBC gets every year, which is $10 million. Most of subsidy CBC gets from Ottawa,  is suppose to help CBC with operating and programming costs. This funding was suppose to help CBC provide distinct local programming to all Canadians. Since CBC Television is Canada's national public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation should be able to serve as a voice and sight to all Canadians, equitably irrespective of location and regardless of income. Not every other Canadian should be forced to subscribe a pay television service such as cable or satellite, just in order to receive CBC television from their respectable location of Canada.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has been claiming that the commercial terrestrial television model is broken. CBC has been rapidly been transitioning from the terrestrial model and heading towards being more focused as online mobile content provider in its digital first strategy plan. The biggest reason why local terrestrial television is failing in Canada, has nothing to do with on-line streaming providers such as Amazon Netflix and Youtube. The failure of local Canadian television, falls in the line copyright infringement, and audience fragmentation. Another important fact is that there is not enough Canadians, that can support the current thousand television channel system, which was created mostly by Canada's cable and satellite providers. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation views online streaming is the modern way of broadcasting over the current terrestrial broadcast model. CBC has already made most it's television programming available on line to Canadians. CBC had most of their English televised newscasts trimmed  to almost nothing in 2015. Shifting some of the CBC's newscasts down to 30 minutes daily (or two and half hours weekly), could CBC be violating the local television programming requirement agreement set in paragraph 93 of 2013-263 for Canada's public broadcaster. The CRTC has made it an mandatory minimum local television programming requirement as part of a broadcast renewal license for most radio and television stations belonging to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2013-263 under paragraph 93, CBC is to maintain at least 7 hours of local television programming per week for English language stations in non-metropolitan markets, and 14 hours for metropolitan televisions of English speaking CBC television stations.

CBC's Digital First Strategy is giving lowest priorities to all of it's radio and television stations. CBC claims it can be more local but at reduced costs, but it seems that CBC has plans to compete with print media such as the Windsor Star in it's digital first strategy plan.  As mandated in the A Space For Us All Strategy by the CBC, the highest priority will be given to internet and “mobile” (services such as cbc.ca), as CBC is being slowly transformed from being Canada's public broadcaster into a public media company that competes with Canada's newsprint media. Local newspapers across Canada like the Windsor Star are struggling for readers, as many failed to adapt to new digital technologies of the twenty-first century. More Windsorites now use these digital technologies or simply known as the word wide web as their source of local news and information. Majority of Canadian newspapers are increasingly becoming less of a profitable enterprise as they fail to adapt to the changes of a digital Canada.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's digital first strategy should not be funded by taxpayers, if CBC has every intention to compete with Canadian newspapers with the money it gets from Ottawa. Being more of an internet content company than a public broadcaster is not what Ottawa intended for CBC to use it's over one billion per year subsidy on. Close to 20 million per Canadians may be using digital and mobile services to access information by 2020, which means should CBC be offering audio video and text content on multiple platforms. Should CBC be more of a being an integrated content company and ditch the old traditional public broadcasting format. If CBC's moves forward with this digital-first strategy, the future mandate set by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, would fail to serve every Canadian. Local programming has been cut on the remaining 14 English television stations of the CBC. More emphasis has been put on sending stories immediately throughout the day on digital platforms such as the internet and mobile phone apps, and less focusing on traditional venues such as local televised newscasts. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in it's a space for us all strategy, wants to shift all its resources from the terrestrial public broadcasting model to being digital online content service provider.

Most of this digital first strategy is more of a business plan, which further distances the CBC from its public-service commitment to Canadians. CBC may have the potential to reach out to many Canadians though their digital platforms through the means of their mobile apps and on-line websites. The sole purpose of CBC's digital first strategy is to place of a large amount CBC's content and programming over the internet, in order to attract large audiences that can be sold to advertisers. Many Canadians who visit these digital platforms and websites of the CBC, may only spend a few minutes each day, and may have very little value to advertisers. Social media sites such as Facebook Google+ and Twitter, where Canadians may spend many hours per month. These digital platforms will attract great interest into advertisers who will spend money advertising on most social media websites targeted towards Canadians.

CBC is using part of it's billion dollar subsidy it gets yearly from Ottawa, by paying out a bunch of royalty fees to operate a series of on-line radio stations, from funding that supposed to help support local CBC radio and television programming across Canada. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has created a series of radio stations, that competes with on-line streaming radio services, satellite radio and every commercial terrestrial radio broadcasting in Canada. These are the dozen or more of these online radio stations that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation streams can be found at cbcmusic.ca. Most of these dozen or more radio stations are not multiple local versions of CBC Radio One or Radio Two, which is being funded from the pockets of taxpayers. Most of this funding from Ottawa was meant to subsidised local radio programming for the CBC, not to fund online only radio stations.

The Liberals and the NDP has promised to restore funding that the Tories slashed from CBC's budget in 2012, as part of their 2015 election campaign promise. What about the extra 675 million funding, that the CBC will be getting from the Liberal Party, as being the newly elected government in 2015. This extra federal subsidy, will be spread out over a period of five years, starting this year (2016) with an additional 75 extra million in CBC budget from Ottawa. Which means another 150 million dollar will be added every year to CBC's federal subsidised budget starting in 2017, until the 675 million additional subsidy is completely depleted in 2021. What will CBC use this extra money, if there is no additional or enhanced local programming being implemented among existing terrestrial CBC stations. The current CBC President Hubert Lacroix, says the public broadcaster will not use any of this extra money, to restore all the local English television programming that were slashed in October of 2015. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, instead will use this extra 675 million on it's current digital first strategy plan. This extra money that the Liberals gave to the CBC, could have been used to enhance local newscasts, along with creating new distinct programming for many regions of Canada.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is still planning to cut important local radio programming  that serves minority Francophone listeners in many communities in Western Canada. Canadian Media Guild is disappointed to learn, that the daily local 30-minute noon-hour news and public affairs show will no longer be produced locally on many Radio Canada Premier stations, located in the providences of Alberta British Columbia Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Many minority Francophone listeners in Western Canada have depended on their local ICI Radio Canada Premiere station for important information. The elimination of most this original local French programming in Western Canada, will be soon to be replaced with radio programming originating from Montreal.

Just because the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has rapidly been moving away from the free terrestrial radio and television system, and moving in the direction of  being a on-line mobile content provider in CBC's  its digital first strategy. How could this digital first model benefit town of Lloydminster Alberta and Saskatchewan, which at the end of this month, no one in Lloydminster will be able to receive CBC television without subscribing to cable or satellite.

The only terrestrial coverage CBC will provide to Lloydminster as of September 1st, will be CBC radio one on medium wave from the distant Regina Saskatchewan. All these subsidises in a tune of over billion year going to CBC from the Canadian government, and not one single penny would be used to  fund some sort of distinct community radio or television after the disaffiliation of CKSA. So no one Lloydminster benefits from this , only to be forced to subscribe to cable or satellite to watch CBC programming, either from Calgary Edmonton or Regina. Residents in Lloydminster will still continue to support their local terrestrial television station, by watching television programming from CKSA instead of CBC. So the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation does not benefit from this switch, as residents of Lloydminster will view CBC television as being a distant terrestrial broadcaster. In a nutshell no one really benefits from this switch, other than the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation no longer paying CKSA Television to air television programming for the CBC.


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