Thursday, February 26, 2009

No commitment to local television

Good morning ... unless you're in Wingham or Windsor. Yesterday CTV announced that stations in the two communities -- part of the A-Channel net -- will shut down later this year. It's not clear whether the transmitters will go off the air all together or if they'll just become repeaters of the signal and newscast in London, but it's obvious that there is no commitment to local television anymore from the Conservative TeleVision Network. The excuse made, that the CRTC's decision last year to deny networks the right to demand carriage fees from cable and satellite, is just pathetic.

CTV is also threatening to shut down a station in Brandon, Manitoba that is owned by CTV but operates as a CBC affiliate. CBC says it will no longer pay its competitor to carry its programming, and would rather have a repeat transmitter to carry the Winnipeg signal.

Both, simply put, are unacceptable. The lack of commitment to community program is bad enough, but to tell people of an entire region that they no longer can have their fix of the state broadcaster they pay taxes into -- even temporarily -- is just plain wrong.

Not that CBC is any better, of course -- they're ending their suppertime newscast in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Just as bad, in my opinion.

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