TORONTO, May 28, 2013 /CNW/ - CBC's new licences, announced this morning
by Canada's broadcast regulator, are the culmination of years of
neglect by successive governments and the product of the Harper
Conservatives' hostility toward public broadcasting in Canada.
The CRTC renewed the licences for all of the CBC's broadcast services,
giving the green light for a three-year period to the CBC's request to
introduce ads on Radio Two and its French language counterpart Espace
Musique. Should the CBC wish to extend radio advertising beyond three
years, it would have to seek permission from the CRTC.
"The Conservative Party activists and donors appointed by the Prime
Minister to the CBC's Board of Directors and the President's office
will be happy with today's decision, but millions of Canadians who care
about public broadcasting will be angry," said Friends spokesperson Ian
More than half of the CBC's Board of Directors, including its President
and CEO, have made financial contributions to the Conservative Party
and some continue as Conservative Party activists.
The CBC's proposal to place ads on some of its radio networks was
opposed by the vast majority (893 out of 965) of those who intervened
during the licence review hearing on this topic. Mandated to act
independently from government, the Commission's decision is conspiring
in the misguided belief that the CBC should go ever more commercial to
end nearly 40 years of commercial-free radio.
"In choosing to ignore the advice of 93% of the citizens who took the
trouble to comment on the CBC's proposal to place ads on its radio
services, the decision sets CBC Radio on a slippery slope. This is
the beginning of the end of the last commercial-free service offered by
the CBC, according to the watchdog group Friends of Canadian
"Next CBC management will ask for permission to place ads on its main
radio networks Radio One and la Première Chaîne. CBC management says it
needs the cash to backstop budget cuts by the Harper Conservatives,
despite their 2011 election promise to maintain or increase support for
And, because CBC's senior management and the Board have little to no
grounding in public broadcasting values, they will blunder on, making
decisions with little understanding of the consequences, remaking CBC
in the image of a private broadcasting," Morrison said.
Morrison noted that today's decision was not unanimous. In his
dissenting opinion, CRTC Vice-Chair - Broadcasting Tom Pentefountas
opposes the proposal for ads on CBC Radio. He wrote "…it's a very
slippery slope once the door is opened to the commercialization of
public radio, and second, it seems crystal clear to me that the
commercialization of Espace Musique and Radio 2 will trigger the
disappearance of the distinct and complementary character of those
Vice Chair Pentefountas also questions the CBC's intention to finance
Radio Two entirely from ad revenues, a standard that no other CBC
service must meet.
"It's clear that CBC's senior management does not value its Radio Two
service," Morrison said.
Today's CRTC decision grants CBC a five-year licence that requires
minimum amounts of Canadian programming overall and during prime time
when most viewers are watching. The decision is silent on the
precarious position the CBC is in concerning its future access to
professional hockey ad revenue.
"Next year when its agreement with the NHL expires, the chances are very
good that a competitor will win the right to Hockey Night in Canada. In
this scenario, the CBC will face a cut to its bottom line of $200
million -- much greater than the most recent cuts delivered by the
"Will the CBC go even more commercial in the event of this potentially
devastating blow? We just don't know.
"The Commission has endorsed a plan to become more commercial and seems
to be treating the CBC like any other broadcaster, rather than the
national public broadcaster," Morrison said.
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is an independent watchdog for Canadian
programming & is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political
SOURCE: Friends of Canadian Broadcasting
For further information:
Jim Thompson 613-447-9592; firstname.lastname@example.org