The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has re-opened public consultations on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s upcoming television and radio license renewal. Hearings on CBC/Radio-Canada’s license renewal will begin Nov. 19 in Gatineau, Que. The deadline to submit interventions/answers is Oct. 5 and the broadcaster must respond to them by Oct. 15.

 

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has re-opened public consultations on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s upcoming television and radio license renewal.

Hearings on CBC/Radio-Canada’s license renewal will begin Nov. 19 in Gatineau, Que. The deadline to submit interventions/answers is Oct. 5 and the broadcaster must respond to them by Oct. 15.

CBC’s license renewal hearings were originally scheduled for Sept. 2011, but were postponed in order to give the broadcaster sufficient time to gather data the CRTC needed as well as figure out its future operating budget. The hearings were then scheduled to take place in June 2012, but were once again once again postponed as the federal budget loomed and CBC faced uncertainty as to its funding moving forward. The federal government slashed CBC’s budget by $115-million over three years in its budget released in March. The CBC has made moves in reaction to the cuts that include shedding 650 jobs, cancelling CBC News Network’s Connect with Mark Kelley and CBC Radio’s Dispatches, postponing the launch of new local digital services and adding advertising to Espace Musique and Radio 2.

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A further financial challenge to the broadcaster is CRTC’s recent decision to phase out the Local Programming Improvement Fund over the next two years. CBC received $40 million annually from the Fund, which was spread out among 20 stations. When asked in an interview with J-Source, CBC vice president and chief regulatory officer Steven Guiton would not comment on any specific changes that may come to those recipient stations in the absence of LPIF funds.

CBC/Radio-Canada has said opportunities for new revenue generation – such as the proposed addition of radio advertising – will be critical to achieving its five-year strategy. Along with the radio advertising, the role of the broadcaster within the Broadcasting Act, the digital transition and CBC’s provision of services to the Northern region of Canada are among the issues under consideration in this license renewal.

This will be the broadcaster’s first license renewal since 1999-2000. Since then, the advance of digital technology has been rapid and transformative. CBC is in the midst of pursuing its 2015: Everyone, Every Way plan, which places a heavy emphasis on providing users with more digital services.

More about the public consultation process currently underway and CBC/Radio-Canada’s license renewal process can be found on the CRTC’s website here