FUND LOCAL PROGRAMMING
Unifor Local 830M is condemning the cuts to local OMNI TV programming announced on May 7th, 2015 by Rogers Media. Eliminating local news from the five ethnic television stations that Rogers is licensed to operate is an utter betrayal of these communities. The CRTC must immediately call Rogers to account for this terrible decision, which will affect hundreds of thousands of people. These cuts come on the heels of Rogers’ decision in 2013 to cancel 21 programs in 13 languages and to end local ethnic TV production in Calgary in 2013, and to close the studio of its Edmonton TV station in 2011.
The CRTC dismissed a complaint by Unifor in 2013 when it ask the CRTC to investigate Rogers’ previous decisions to cut service to ethnic communities. Then in 2014, when the CRTC heard Rogers’ applications for more flexibility to run the OMNI station, the CRTC agreed. The CRTC’s 2014 decision said that asking Rogers to spend $2 million a year on local programming at five stations would be excessive; in 2014 Rogers Communications reported $12.9 billion in revenues, $5 billion in profits, and an adjusted operating profit margin of 39%.
Enough is enough: the CRTC must act to protect the public interest and the interests of Canada’s ethnic communities – letting Rogers eliminate local news and information in the few months before a federal election is called makes a mockery of the CRTC and the integrity of its licensing process.
Broadcasting is a privilege in Canada. It’s not some kind of property for the wealthiest to buy, sell and manipulate. The right to run a TV service hinges on a broadcaster’s commitment to serve the public. If Rogers can’t afford, or doesn’t want, to serve Canada’s ethnic communities, isn’t it time to find someone who does?