A Free Ethnic Channel in 18 languages
8 was a great day for Rogers Broadcasting of Toronto and Calgary-based
Craig Broadcasting, when Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) granted
licences for new UHF-TV stations in the lucrative Toronto viewing area, a
market of up to five million people.
are pleasantly surprised, motivated and a little bit in awe,” says
Leslie Sole, CEO of Rogers TV, about the ruling.
Ziniak, Vice President, CFMT, said, “It was really a surprise. And
we are delighted that it has come through.”
believe we effectively illustrated a need that was current and continuing
to grow and that we were experienced at doing that,” says Sole.
says Rogers will also be pursuing access to the London, Ont., region,
possibly through a re-broadcasting transmitter.
February, the CRTC awarded an ethnic TV licence in Vancouver to a group of
local entrepreneurs, effectively crushing Rogers' eight-year struggle for
a TV presence on the West Coast. CFMT had appealed against the Vancouver
decision and got a review by CRTC only to be turned down again.
wonder whether the awarding of a second Toronto licence to make amends for
Rogers' Vancouver defeat?
Too!, is the proposed multi-lingual, multi-ethnic channel to be set up in
the Toronto-Hamilton golden (the richest advertising market in the
country) horse shoe by Roger's Broadcasting.
hope to be up and running by September this year,” says Madeline Ziniak.
CFMT Too will start by reconstructing their current building to
accommodate the new challenge. They would also be hiring people to help
run the new station.
new station will be a free over the air 24 hour channel which will be also
accessible on basic cable. The Rogers' Broadcasting will soon assign a
Cable Channel through which CFMT Too can be accessed. The current
multicultural station, CFMT, would continue in its present format.
will get a lot of ethnic-based programme proposals for consideration.
“We have already received so many proposals even before the decision,”
is committed to spend $45 million in the next six years toward developing
ethnic programs in several languages including Tamil, Punjabi, Urdu,
Hindi, and English which is considered the link language for the South
Asian community. “We will be funding documentaries and dramas from
independent producers,” says Madeline.
on the commitments made by CFMT Too in their application, CRTC, while
issuing a partial license to CFMT Too, has
laid down some stipulations, which states (in part)
in the languages used by the new station will be ensured by a condition of
licence requiring the use of at least 18 different languages, as well as
by the requirement that no more than 15% of all broadcast time each month
be dedicated to programs in any one foreign language, for the first two
years of operation. That level may be increased by 1% in each of the
following years, to a monthly maximum of 19%.
programs, as described in the Ethnic Policy, will make up at least 70% of
the broadcast day on CFMT Too. At least 55% of the programming during the
evening hours (6:00 p.m. until midnight) will be made up of ethnic
programs, and not less than 80% of all programming between 8:00 p.m. and
10:00 p.m. during each broadcast year will consist of ethnic programs. No
more than 45% of all broadcast time between 6:00 p.m. and midnight shall
be devoted to non-ethnic programs from sources other than Canada.
Too will be required, as mandated by the Television Broadcasting
Regulations, 1987 (the Television Regulations), to devote a minimum of 60%
of the broadcast year to Canadian programs, and to devote at least 50% of
the time between 6:00 p.m. and midnight to Canadian programming.
stated its intention that local news programming will be a priority for
CFMT Too. As with CFMT-TV, a central news gathering and production team
will act as a facilitator for news production on CFMT Too, although the
individual staff teams responsible for third-language newscasts will have
editorial autonomy. Rogers also stated that it would establish a number of
regional news bureaus in Markham/Scarborough, Mississauga/Brampton,
Woodbridge as well as Hamilton. The new station will also have access to
CFMT-TV’s existing bureaus in Ottawa and in Toronto at Queen’s Park.
cross-cultural programming series "Multicultural Canada" will
provide opportunities for members of ethnic communities to exchange views
and share ideas. The program will feature community, national and
international news, discussion groups and cross-cultural interactive
segments. It will be produced in conjunction with CJNT-TV Montreal and
aired on that station as well as on CFMT-TV and CFMT Too. Multicultural
Canada is planned to consist of 44 original one-hour episodes for
broadcast during the evenings.”
the Commission reminds the licensee that “the expectations set out above
with respect to cultural diversity are over and above the longstanding and
more general expectations concerning employment equity. Specifically, the
Commission expects the licensee to continue to ensure that the on-air
presence of members of the four designated groups (women, Aboriginal
persons, disabled persons and members of visible minorities) is reflective
of Canadian society, and that members of these groups are presented
fairly, accurately and in a manner free of stereotypes.”
to the findings by CRTC, it “is convinced, given the large ethnic
community in the Toronto area and its growing diversity, that additional
television service devoted to a wider range of ethnic communities is
warranted, and is consistent with the objectives of the Act. The
Commission agrees with Rogers' position that new ethnic services will
stimulate growth in the ethnic advertising market. It also finds that,
since the focus of the new station will be on service to local
communities, any negative impact on other services will be limited.”
is the best news for the creative and the enterprising within the South
Asian community, who will, hopefully, start playing a major role in the
Leslie Sole says it was the “ethno-graphic present and future of the city of Toronto” that tipped the ruling in their favour.
It is important that, as Binoy Thomas, editor of Weekly Voice, a
local ethnic weekly, writes, “CFMT Too and Craig Broadcasting do not
take the audiences for granted and dish out programs just for the sake of
qualifying as 'ethnic'.”