TORONTO - As many of our readers, hard copy and on-line, will know, Corriere Canadese, under CORRCAN Media GRP (CRCMG), submitted an application to the CRTC for a television license, in November of 2017. The publication of the decision is imminent.
The CRTC in its issuance of the Call (a request for proposals from interested parties) identified the need for multilingual, multiethnic news and current affairs programming from a Canadian perspective. The successful applicant would need to meet the requirements that satisfied this need.
In our view, the CRTC imposed this “directive/condition” – among others – because the non Anglophone, non-Francophone community of Canadians (Allophones comprising about 22% of the total population according to latest StatsCan figures), has little access to Canadian-produced news and current affairs in the language and expressions reflective of their experience in Canada.
Secondly, OMNI, the broadcaster with a mandate to provide some of this invaluable content “walked away from” its obligations and shut down what little news they provided, laying off many of its staff as a consequence.
Seven other applicants responded to the Call.Two (MDVG, ECG) are essentially technology companies offering streaming services and translating opportunities for content producers. One other, Amber, is a West Coast radio broadcaster but not a news generator or creator.
“Existing broadcasters”, Bell, Rogers/Omni, ICTV-MTL, Corus/TLN/ATN as evidenced in their submissions and oral presentations are focused on nostalgia programming produced abroad “plugged-in and played” for Canadian consumption. Cheap and foreign made.
Ours is based on a different approach and a different set of values: News from a Canadian perspective is a fundamental element of the broadcasting system that must be made available to all Canadians in the most affordable manner.
That is why our typical broadcast day of 18 hours (36 half hour units), 12.5 hours of our programming on a weekday, will be original, first run, Canadian-produced NEWS. A further two hours will be allocated for rebroadcast of the late evening news in the early morning hours of the following day for a total of 14.5 hours (29 half hour units) comprising 80.5 % of the day dedicated to news and current affairs.
The chart below compares the cost and benefits offered by each of the applicants. It is based on the monthly additional fee to be charged to each subscriber (roughly 10 million of them nation-wide. By way of comparison, subscribers to Rai TV pay an average of $5 per month to their local Cable or satellite provider.
The programme on the weekend will differ slightly: only 52.8% of the Saturday-Sunday schedule will be dedicated to news and current affairs. 47.2% of the schedule will be devoted to programmes exhibiting work by Canadian Independent Producers, including short documentaries and perhaps one full length first run Canadian movie.
Corriere has the facilities to expand within our Central newsroom in Toronto, our current site, to accommodate teams of producers and journalists from all 20 language groups. And, there is ample studio space for staging productions by independent producers who have expressed their willingness to work with us.
Furthermore, we have arrangements for the use of state-of-the-art studios and transmission facilities in Vancouver, Calgary, Vaughan and Montreal. Many of our partners already broadcast ethnic programming directed at other ethno-linguistic groups.
In BNC 2018-127, the CRTC called for a proposal that would fill what it recognized as a need for a news and public affairs channel that would also provide ethnic programming to a multiethnic, multilingual community. This is to be accomplished from a Canadian perspective and using Canadian Independent Producers to the fullest extent possible.
Corriere stands alone as the applicant with the greatest reach into an Allophone Community rich with journalistic, and creative, cultural experience and expertise to satisfy the conditions of the Call.