Opening remarks by Leonard Katz, Acting Chairman, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

To the public hearing in Gatineau

Gatineau, Quebec
April, 16 2012

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Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this public hearing.

The panel for this hearing consists of:

The Commission team assisting us includes:

Please speak with Ms. Roy if you have any questions with regard to hearing procedures.

Local Programming Improvement Fund Review

At this hearing, the Commission will review the Local Programming Improvement Fund.

In 2008, the Commission created this Fund to ensure that viewers in smaller markets continue to receive local programming—particularly local news programming. It also aimed to improve the quality and the diversity of local programming, and ensure a level of parity in French-language markets. The Fund was created at a time when private broadcasters’ spending on local programming was stagnant.

The following year, in response to the severity of the economic downturn and the impaired advertising market, the Fund was modified and expanded to provide sufficient support to local programming. Cable and satellite distribution companies were required to contribute 1.5% of gross broadcasting revenues. In 2010, 78 stations received over $100 million in funding. In 2011, 80 stations received more than $106 million in funding.

When the Fund was created, we stated our intention to conduct a review in its third year of existence. During this hearing, the panel intends to discuss a number of issues, including:

This review will help us decide whether the Local Programming Improvement Fund should be maintained, modified or discontinued.

Last Friday, the Commission added additional information to the public file concerning the average amount of local programming aired by different ownership groups. This information is based on a review of the television logs filed by funding recipients over the last four years, and is now available on our website. Copies are also available, in French and English, in the hearing room.

Procedure

I would now invite the Hearing Secretary, Jade Roy, to explain the procedures we will be following. Madam Secretary…

 

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