In light of the upcoming federal budget, the CRTC has postponed hearings surrounding CBC’s license renewal until further notice.
The hearings were originally scheduled for Sept. 2011, but were postponed last summer 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.
Now, CBC says it needs more time to "reflect on and operationalize its plans" in light of the upcoming federal budget before the renewal hearings. The budget, which is expected to be announced in late February or March, will likely include cuts to the publicly-funded broadcaster, which currently receives about $1.1 billion per year. This is contrary to public opinion, which according to a poll conducted last fall, wants the level of funding to be maintined.
The CRTC has agreed to give the broadcaster more time, saying “it would be inappropriate to set a hearing date for the renewal of the CBC’s licences until the CBC has had an opportunity to establish its future operating budget,” and has therefore postponed the hearings once again.
This time, there is no future alternative date given.
CBC last had a significant license renewal in 1999-2000, and since then, the evolution of digital media has been rapid and significant. Part of the license renewal process will examine the future role of the broadcaster in light of this.
If you want to know more about the details of the license renewal hearings — whenever they end up happening in the future – they are outlined in this CRTC notice of consultation.