ARCHIVED - Broadcasting - Commission Letter to L. Morry

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Ottawa, 4 February 2002

Ms. Lanny Morry
Director, Regulatory Affairs
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
250 Lanark Avenue
Ottawa, ON
K1Z 6R5

Re: CBC-Radio Canada First Annual Report to the CRTC

Dear Ms. Morry:

We acknowledge receipt of the CBC-SRC Annual Report to the CRTC on Year 1 (2000/01) of the license term, filed on 14 December 2001.

We recognize that you are reporting that the vast majority of the obligations placed on the various services of the Corporation by the Commission have been met or exceeded. Notably, the English and French radio networks, Newsworld, and Le Réseau de l'Information (RDI) all reported full compliance with their renewal obligations.

With respect to the English and French television networks and stations, we note that the CBC and SRC television networks have in many areas significantly exceeded the Commission's expectations. However, the reporting on the Corporation's two television networks does raise a few questions that we would like to address with you here. These questions are attached as Appendix A.

Your response to this letter should be filed with the Commission no later than 11 February 2002.


Jean-Pierre Blais
Executor Director

Appendix A

English-language Television Network (ETV)

Local and Regional Reflection

In Decision CRTC 2000-1, the Commission required the CBC to honour commitments it made with respect to levels of local and regional programming for its various English-language television stations across the country. These commitments were to provide 1 hour and 30 minutes of local and regional news per day at all but three local stations, and 30 minutes of local non-news programming per week, rising to 1 hour per week in Year 4.

In the summary of the performance of the ETV in the overview of CBC's annual report, you indicate that over the period that overlapped with the CRTC's proceeding to renew the licenses of the CBC, the Corporation was going through what it terms "Transformation". Transformation, we are told, took into account financial pressures and renewed 'public service' strategic planning directions, which led to, among other things, the reconsideration of the levels of local/regional programming at the local stations.

In the case of local and regional reflection programming, Transformation led to reductions in exhibition levels. The report indicates that in Year 1, the English-language CBC stations each broadcast 30 minutes per day of local news programming, as opposed to the 1 hour and 30 minutes originally committed to for most stations.

With respect to non-news, the CBC report states the following,

.while English Television is highly committed to regional reflection, it did not, in the end, proceed with the regional program series as described during the licence renewal process. However, an even greater amount of hours of regional non-news programming was broadcast across the system, almost 200 hours in all (p. 7, Overview).

In light of the above:

Please elaborate on the strategic direction and approach planned by the CBC, going forward, with respect to the exhibition levels of local and regional reflection programming on the ETV.

Please confirm that your commitment is to broadcast a minimum of 30 minutes per day of local news on all English-language CBC local stations for the remainder of the licence term. If not, please elaborate.

Performing Arts Programming

We note that with respect to Canadian performing arts performances, the ETV fell short in meeting the Commission's expectation of 24 performances per year over the broadcast day; providing 20 performances in that period. However, we also acknowledge that the ETV exceeded the Commission's expectation with respect to Canadian performances during the peak period, and, further, that the CBC took the bold step of eliminating commercials from it's "Opening Night" Thursday evening performing arts block.

Will the CBC, on a going forward basis, be able to meet the CRTC's expectations with respect to the number of Canadian performing arts performances over the broadcast day?

Amateur Sports Programming

In Decision CRTC 2000-1, the Commission expected the CBC to fulfill its commitments with respect to televised sport. These commitments included specific hourly levels of increased amateur sport (120 hours per year) and reduced professional sport (60 hours per year) by the end of the licence term. Your report indicates that in the 2000/01 broadcast year, 51% of all sports programming broadcast was amateur sport.

For the purposes of evaluating the 51% level reported and gauging progress against the original commitments, please provide the base level figures for both amateur and professional sport against which you are reporting.

On what basis do you consider a sport amateur?

Please provide a general indication of which sports the CBC considers to be amateur?

French-language Television Network

Music, Dance and Variety Programming

Decision CRTC 2000-2 provided, by condition of licence, that the French-language television network (FTV), broadcast in peak time, in each of the first two years of the new licence term, a minimum average of 3 hours per week of Canadian programs from Categories 8 and 9, and, in each of the next five years of the licence term, a minimum of 5 hours per week of that programming. That condition signaled the Commission's view that the SRC is a crucial element in the cultural vitality of all Francophones in Canada and makes an irreplaceable contribution to the development and promotion of artistic and musical talent in all regions of the country.

In the annual report, SRC provided information aimed at explaining why they fell short of this condition in Year 1, providing an average of 2.3 hours per week of Category 8 and 9 programming (music, dance and variety). The report also indicated that this condition of licence will, as worded, be a challenge for the SRC going forward. In this context:

Have the definitions introduced in PN 1999-205 reduced the potential number of programs that the SRC is able to include in Categories 8 and 9?

In light of the concern raised in your report, does the SRC have proposals for amended wording of this condition that would respect the spirit and objectives of the Commission's original decision?

Date Modified: 2002-02-04

Date modified: