One-third of Canadians to lose free TV signals under broadcaster plan

    GATINEAU, QC, May 7 /CNW/ - The Canadian Media Guild, which opposes the
broadcast industry's plans to shut down transmitters that send free TV signals
to one-third of Canadians, will present an alternative to the CRTC today.
    "Broadcast executives seem to think there is no problem in forcing
one-third of Canadians to pay for TV service, while continuing to provide free
signals to the other two-thirds who live in major cities," says CMG national
president Lise Lareau. "We think this is bad business and even worse public
    The CMG's solution involves broadcasters sharing digital transmitters in
the smaller markets that would get nothing under the broadcaster plan. A
single digital transmitter and frequency can be used to broadcast up to six
channels. The solution would allow broadcasters to share the digital upgrade
and operating costs. It also stands to increase the number of free TV channels
from what is currently available in smaller markets.
    Viewers with an older TV and antenna simply need a $60 converter box to
receive the free signals. Viewers with a new digital TV and antenna need no
additional equipment. Canadians who live near the U.S. border and in cities
such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa can already tune to a variety
of free Canadian and American digital channels.
    "Every study we have seen suggests that television remains a popular
past-time for people of all ages," Lareau adds. "People turn to TV to find out
what is going on in their area, from weather and natural disasters, to
information about community events and public decision-making. That kind of
service should not be, and has never before been, a luxury requiring Canadians
to pay a monthly bill."
    The CRTC is holding hearings into the renewal of private TV licences and
is examining the transition from analogue to digital television.
    The CMG will be appearing before the CRTC this afternoon and our
presentation can be heard on the web at
    To download our full submission to the CRTC, visit

    The Canadian Media Guild is a union that represents 6,000 media workers
across Canada, including employees at CBC/Radio-Canada, The Canadian Press,
Reuters, TVOntario, TFO, the Aboriginal Peoples' Television Network, CW
Television and S-VOX.

For further information:

For further information: National President Lise Lareau at (416)
524-5473 (cell); or communications co-ordinator Karen Wirsig at (416) 578-1651

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