TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
TV RENEWALS - CTV/GLOBAL ACROSS CANADA /
DEMANDES DE RADIODIFFUSION -
RENOUVELLEMENT DE CTV/GLOBAL À TRAVERS LE CANADA
Centre de Conférences
April 19, 2001
le 19 avril 2001
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and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
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Canadian Radio-television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
TV Renewals - CTV/Global Across Canada /
Demandes de radiodiffusion -
Renouvellement de CTV/Global à travers le Canada
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Chairperson of the Commission / Président du Conseil
Commissioner / Conseillère
Commissioner / Conseillère
Commissioner / Conseillère
Commissioner / Conseiller
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Hearing Manager and Secretary / Gérant de l'audience et secrétaire
Legal Counsel / conseillers juridiques
Director, English-Language Radio-Television Policy / Directeur, politiques Relatives à la Radio-télévision de langue anglaise
Centre de Conférences
April 19, 2001
le 19 avril 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
PAGE / PARA NO.
APPLICATION BY / APPLICATION PAR
Global Communications Limited / Global Communications Limited (Continued / Continuation)
681 / 3433
Global Communications Limited / Global Communications Limited (Local Markets Presentation / Présentation des marchés locaux)
842 / 4293
Hull, Quebec / Hull (Québec)
--- Upon resuming on Thursday, April 19, 2001 at 0830 / L'audience reprend le jeudi 19 avril 2001 à 0830
3433 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to our hearing.
3434 We will return to questioning of the Global panel with respect to the Global group of stations. We still have several issues to cover off. I will just give you those in the order that we propose to do them: cultural diversity, service to the visually impaired, service to the deaf and the cross-media ownership issue.
3435 With that, I will turn to Commissioner Cardozo.
3436 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning, everybody.
3437 I am glad we are doing this session today as opposed to yesterday, because I have had a chance to look through the Response to Deficiencies, dated April 9th, which some of us had not seen. It gives me a lot more information on this particular subject, and it will certainly help our discussion.
3438 I also want to note in the paragraph where you talked about cultural diversity and Global's commitment to it, on page 20 of your opening comments, that in terms of the information you provided us in this deficiency you have provided us with a lot more information. I do want to state quite clearly our compliments on the record that you have to date in this area, in the range of areas.
3439 What we are looking for, as you will understand from our 1999 policy, is a fairly comprehensive approach to how we advance with cultural diversity.
3440 What I am doing from here is to take from what you had done as Global over the last number of years and as you have stated in these documents that I have referred to, and look at where we go from here, both Global and the industry at large. I guess we look to you as a large conventional, one of the largest, whoever you follow. We look to your leadership in this, both within your company and the industry overall.
3441 You will be aware of the social, cultural and national objectives that are outlined in everything from the Broadcasting Act to our own policy, to the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. You will also be aware that this is becoming increasingly a business imperative, and you will be aware that your counterparts in the United States, the networks there, ran into quite some trouble in 1999 when the fall season, the 27 new shows that were being introduced, had no minorities in leading roles. This caused quite a backlash and resulted in all the major networks signing some fairly comprehensive deals with community organizations, making some fairly clear commitments as to how they were going to move in the years ahead.
3442 I would suggest to you that this is a business imperative, both here in Canada but also when you are looking for export potential for some of your products.
3443 Can I take the statement that you have made in your opening comments, Mr. Noble, perhaps as how you would describe Global's corporate approach to cultural diversity? Or is there anything you would like to add to that?
3444 MR. NOBLE: Yes, those statements do reflect our philosophy in this important area. We do have, as part of our operation, a six-prong plan to deal with the important issue of cultural diversity.
3445 I will ask Charlotte Bell to lead the Commission through that, and then we will have Loren Mawhinney discuss how we approach it in our programming production and purchasing plans. Then Ken MacDonald will discuss what we do in our local programming in news areas.
3446 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Please go ahead.
3447 MS BELL: Thank you. I will take you through the six points, and then we will provide a little bit more detail for you.
3448 The first part is that we will meet the requirements of the Employment Equity Act, including reporting requirements, and strive for continued improvement in our results.
3449 We will implement our employment equity program, which is a five-point program, which I will give you a little bit later. The objective there is to further hiring and employment to achieve fair representation within our workforce; to have equitable representation among our on-air personalities to reflect the communities that we serve.
3450 We will continue with CanWest Global scholarships and awards.
3451 In our programming, within local news features and specials in each community we will continue to reflect the diversity of the communities that we are serving; in our national programming, documentaries and dramas, and through our "Our Canada" project, which is the 36 annual documentary initiative.
3452 In terms of community involvement, we will continue to support local community groups, providing support, increasing awareness and promotion of community events and cultural events.
3453 We will continue the involvement by our staff and on-air personalities and local organizations and groups.
3454 As number 6, we will adhere to the CAB guidelines.
3455 MR. MacDONALD: Commissioner, there is a company plan and the Act is helpful, but I really think where we are going now is that these issues are being driven by the markets we serve. We talked yesterday about being driven by the markets we serve and meeting the needs of the markets. And I think, happily, all of our stations are responding more and more to the needs of the market and to the need to reflect the make-up of the market and the look of the market.
3456 I think the other thing that is happening is that it is being driven internally by the people we hire. In the case of Global Ontario, we have a senior journalist who is a very active member of the Canadian Association of Black Journalists, who never hesitates to remind us when we are offside or we are not doing enough in these areas. I think that is a healthy thing. I think that is a good thing.
3457 We have the company plan. We have mechanisms in place, but I think it is driven not only top down by management but also by the markets and by the people we hire.
3458 You are going to hear later in the local presentations about aboriginal programming in the west, about the range of multicultural issues addressed by some of our local programming -- for example, "Maritimes Today" in the Atlantic -- and you are going to hear more about reflection on the air in terms of our senior on-air people.
3459 I don't propose to go into all of that right now.
3460 We have sensitized our news directors across the system through various mechanisms, through the general managers and through the plan that Charlotte has just outlined, and also on the news level nationally when the news directors meet, to pursue this plan and to meet the needs of this plan in every decision they make and to have it in mind in terms of hiring, programming and events in the community that the stations are involved with. And there are many.
3461 We meet with various organizations. We interact with them really in terms of our programming, particularly in the case of Global Ontario, which is supportive of the various cultural groups in terms of its programming. We also meet with them when they think we are offside. We don't just answer with an e-mail or a letter or when the CSBC says they have received a complaint. We meet with them personally and chat with them and try to become more sensitized ourselves.
3462 In terms of on-air reflection, I think in some markets we are better than others. I would certainly point to Global Ontario where I think there has been great headway made in the last few years. While there is still a long way to go, we are proud in a province that is really a kaleidoscope, particularly in the Toronto area. We have made great strides in on-air positions and senior on-air positions to reflect the community. That is something we will continue to do in the long term.
3463 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: One of the interventions suggested that there was particular progress of on-air people in Ontario in the last year or so.
3464 What is your sense of that?
3465 MR. MacDONALD: I think it is more in the last two to two and a half years, Commissioner. We have made a lot of changes at Global Ontario over the last two or three years in terms of our presentation and our programming, a lot of on-air changes. I think that is reflected in some of the people we have hired and put into anchor positions and weather presenters and senior journalists and health reporting and health anchoring, and so on.
3466 Those were quite easy decisions to make. These are all very talented people.
3467 We are happy, though, that we think we are doing a very good job of reflecting the community, as we should. That is a natural evolution.
3468 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Before we move to the part about production, Ms Mawhinney, I have a few more questions on news. Maybe I could ask them now, if that does not affect the flow of your presentation too much.
3469 In terms of news, I wonder if you could give us a sense on a couple of things: first, how you cover issues where there may be a controversial situation where either minorities are involved or -- in the old days in the newspapers, it is sort of legendary but it used to happen where you would see sort of "man of so-and-so ethnic origin holds up store". You would not see "white man holds up store".
3470 There is that type of thing where maybe a person who is involved in a crime is a minority.
3471 The other side is when you may have a situation where the controversy does surround a particular group, and it is very much related to that particular group. So you can't avoid mentioning the name of the group.
3472 Do you have a way of how journalists decide when it is appropriate and when it is not appropriate to identify ethnicity, for example?
3473 MR. MacDONALD: We have a policy on not identifying cultural origin unless it is absolutely essential to the story. We think that is very important, because we have a section in our policy on stereotyping and we want to avoid that or the perception of that at all costs.
3474 At times, obviously, it is germane or it is important to a story if it is a dangerous suspect at large, and so forth and so on; when the description has been given and the police are seeking help or issuing a warning. In those instances, obviously it is necessary to identify cultural origin.
3475 In other cases when we are covering a story that may have a controversial element involving a multicultural issue, our reporters are trained to be sensitive to the communities affected, to the people affected, and they get all sides of the stories. And our producers vet every script very carefully, mindful of the provisions in our policy and mindful of the tenets of good journalism. I think that is key.
3476 The other point we make as well -- and it is a little easier to do in Ontario where you do have that kaleidoscope that I talked about -- is in terms of the reporters going in the street and getting reaction to stories. We call it streeters. I think that is where we have to make sure there is a mix as well in terms of cultural representation. We strive to do that as well.
3477 So if there is going to be a collection of views or a panel of people, we try to ensure that that panel is reflective of the community and of the cultural mix in that community.
3478 Those are some of the more subtle things that I think reporters and news directors everywhere need to be increasingly sensitized about.
3479 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: That is the other point I was going to ask you about, when you talk about streeters on the street or experts in your studio talking about an issue. Do you have a Rolodex or a database of experts on all of the issues that you deal with, such as health care, the stock markets and whatever else, experts that do reflect the diversity of the population?
3480 If you look at all of these different areas, you have a lot of people working in them, but when you look at who gets interviewed on TV you don't often see that diversity.
3481 There has been in the past a tendency when you do see the non-white face, they are there because there has been a shooting or there is a controversy or something. You don't see them when they are just ordinary contributing members of society.
3482 MR. MacDONALD: We do attempt to take all of those things into consideration. Sometimes when you need an expert on something, you go for the best expert regardless of who it is obviously.
3483 Do we have a Rolodex that is marked with sort of cultural designations? No.
3484 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: No, it doesn't have to be marked but that is inclusive of a variety of --
3485 MR. MacDONALD: I'm sorry, yes. Absolutely. Yes.
3486 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. Can I ask you about APTN. Perhaps the last time I saw Ms Bell here at a hearing was at the licensing of APTN and Global was one of the few broadcasters who came forward and very strongly supported the licensing of APTN and had plans to work with them. I just wanted to find out more about whether you have continued a relationship with them in terms of their development.
3487 MS MAWHINNEY: Yes, indeed. As part of our WIC benefits, as you know Commissioner Cardozo, we are giving them a million dollars over five years. What we have done is divided that into five payments so that they could use that money to commission various projects. We will have first right of refusal after they have used it for our own stations. They have sole discretion as to what the projects are going to be.
3488 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: When you say first right of refusal, that's for second window in the programming?
3489 MS MAWHINNEY: Yes.
3490 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. Thanks. That covers my question on news. I believe you had some more to add.
3491 MS MAWHINNEY: I don't know if you want to add more than what we have already filed in our deficiencies. I guess --
3492 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: What I'm looking for is more -- what you filed in the deficiencies is very useful. It gives us a better sense of what you have done to date.
3493 If I can take you back to our Public Notice and our 1999 policy, what we really are looking for and had hoped for was more plan -- I think we talked about, the term was concrete initiatives or something to that effect, about what you will be doing in this area for the seven year period ahead. I wonder if you could give us a sense of the kinds of things you will be doing, perhaps based on your experience, during the licence term ahead.
3494 MS MAWHINNEY: Well, first of all, whatever program we are commissioning, it's important that it reflects the world that we are in, so in the case of "Blackfly", it would not be logical not to have native Canadians portrayed in that particular arena.
3495 In the case of "Big Sound" where you are in a modern, hip, urban environment, it would also be anathema not to have a mixed racial cast. I just want to say that it's not us saying to the producers we must do this. It's totally collaborative. There is a real appreciation that if you don't have a mixed cast, it looks really dated.
3496 Over and above that, within our contracts we talk about sexual stereotyping, the CAB code of violence and employment practices within the groups that we are dealing with so that they have to have fully open employment practices as part of their deal with us.
3497 The other thing we are careful about is appropriation of voices. For instance, in episodes of "Blue Murder" that take place in specific communities, we would not presume to know those communities, the writers in those instances. For instance, we did something that took place in a fictitious area in Toronto called Scarbados. That was written by a black writer named David Sutherland. We couldn't have got the essence of those voices had he not participated.
3498 We did another episode that took place. We call it "Little India". In that case as well the writer was of East Indian extraction, otherwise we wouldn't understand what the story line was and what the characters really are all about.
3499 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. When a producer comes to you with something like "Big Sound", if they didn't have a diverse cast, do you have the ability or the interest in saying to them "This doesn't look right".
3500 MS MAWHINNEY: Oh, indeed. For instance, in the case of "Big Sound" we cast Diana Millingham and Colin Cunningham first. David and I said this is starting to look a little white bready and it doesn't look very urban. The next day we only cast actors that weren't so that we could come up with a mixed racial cast.
3501 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In something like "Blue Murder", did you think about having one of your main protagonists, one or more, in sort of this -- when you move from a position of having no minorities to having some, it often ends up being one and is that one the token is always a question. You have got to move somehow.
3502 In a program like that do you stop and think you have four main protagonists which don't reflect the diversity of that scene.
3503 MS MAWHINNEY: Yes, we do. You know, we also don't want to be like "Law and Order" where every single judge is black, where there isn't anybody else but black judges.
3504 As you saw in our lists, the prosecutor, the crown prosecutor, is black. There are lots of regulars that are police officers that are of that community, but over and above that we are going to give Maria a partner this year. We are changing her character a little bit so that she will have her own partner to go out and be proactive and solve crimes.
3505 We haven't actually completed the casting on that, but it will not -- it will be a protocol.
3506 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I don't want to delve too much in a particular show. One of the senses I got through some of the material you provided is where we talked about minorities, it was more recurring roles as opposed to leading roles. I would say to you that the recurring role was better than a guest appearance or a non-appearance.
3507 You know, it's a movement in the right direction, but it's that leading role that was the issue of the controversy in the United States. I think in a country with a relative similar multicultural nature, it's perhaps something that one can give more thought to.
3508 How about documentaries. Could you tell us more about "Our Canada" in terms of how you are picking themes and stories there.
3509 MS MAWHINNEY: Sure. I will give you a couple of examples and when we get into the local issues, Barbara is a lot closer in some of the western ones than I am.
3510 In each community we are trying to reflect the societal issues of that community. For instance, a documentary that we are picking up from Winnipeg is going to deal with homelessness in Winnipeg, focusing particularly on the aboriginal community.
3511 We have got another documentary coming from B.C. which is a portrait of a man at the turn of the century, whose name I can't remember, but he's a Chinese man who had difficulty finding work. What he did was take pictures of native tribes around that time. Now the work that he has done is shown in art galleries around the west coast. This is a portrait of this man and his life.
3512 In the east coast we are doing a documentary on maritime army guys that have gone to Somalia and what is that like for these people to go into that kind of environment.
3513 In each of these instances I think you can see that we are trying to find societal issues that reflect that community, that are of concern to that community but yet will be interesting to the country as a whole.
3514 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: So you are dealing with both the issues of people seeing themselves and people seeing each other.
3515 MS MAWHINNEY: Yes.
3516 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Because sometimes we tend to focus on community "X" wants to see itself, but I think one of the things as the country evolves and some of this diversity is an urban rollout that is better to split, where urban centres tend to be big and medium and size urban centres tend to be more diverse and the very small towns in the rural areas tend to be more unicultural, yet we are all part of the same country and one would think that television is a way that we all learn about how we are all evolving and how some rural areas are different from urban areas and urban areas are different from rural areas. There's a role for --
3517 MS MAWHINNEY: And I think from the specific comes the universal. You know, everybody can identify with feeling left out or feeling hurt or not feeling part of it. Those themes are universal even if they are depicting a particular individual.
3518 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. When casting people, do you have a talent bank or a database of actors that reflect the diversity of people you have access to, a diversity of actors and do you have an association to play the part, ongoing relations with associations that represent particular groups?
3519 There are various non-profit organizations that bring together actors or producers of particular minority groups. Are you in touch with these types of organizations?
3520 MS MAWHINNEY: Yes, and the producer is and their casting agent more specifically is absolutely in touch. I think it's not fringey, you know, you have a special book of ethnic actors. Everybody is a member of ACTRA.
3521 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes.
3522 MS MAWHINNEY: As we just discussed earlier, you can't do a show now and not have a mixed cast. It just looks like it's from the seventies. It's not acceptable.
3523 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: When you are picking foreign programming, do you look at this issue either that it be inclusive or that it not be offensive or stereotypical?
3524 MR. NOBLE: I think Doug Hoover has just arrived. He can respond to that, Commissioner.
3525 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I was keeping that question for you.
3526 MR. HOOVER: Thank you. My apologies.
3527 Yes, we do. The Canadian cultural structure is different from the United States and there are some programs that are targeted towards specific groups in the States, most specifically the Hispanic population, but doesn't have a large representation in Canada as proportionate to its representation in the United States. We tend to try and stay away from those programs.
3528 We have purchased a number of programs that predominantly feature African Americans. A couple of examples would be "City of Angels" which had an entire African American cast. It was a great show. Unfortunately, it didn't work from an audience point of view.
3529 Another that is currently on our schedule that we are very proud of and that I think illustrates the diverse representation is "Boston Public," another David E. Kelly show that is doing very well, and I think is an example of the kind of program that you are speaking of.
3530 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Did you have anything more to add, Ms Bell, in terms of the plan, the six point plan?
3531 MS BELL: Actually if you would like, I could go through our hiring practices, which is a five point plan.
3532 And I guess the first thing I would say is we have made some progress in this area but we realize we have to take a more hands-on approach and have a more national approach to this. So this is where this plan comes in.
3533 So we will continue to post all new positions and openings at all CanWest Global stations. Number two, the general managers of each station have a commitment to review their workforce make up annually in terms of reviewing the representation of the designated groups and report back to the president and the new vice president of Human Resources and that would be done once a year.
3534 Each station will be given the mandate to identify and set up relationships with appropriate institutions and organizations in their communities to further their ability to seek out potential candidates for entry into the broadcasting system, and we have done some of this. We need to be a little more proactive. We do work with some groups, as you have seen in our reply. We just want to build more of those relationships and ensure that it is being done on a national basis by all stations.
3535 We will also institute a mentorship program or access existing mentorship programs like the CWC mentorship program to support designated group candidates within our workforce who have the interest and potential for advancement within the organization. And we will ensure that corporate support is given to employees to further their training in the industry and that it is fairly and equitably provided to all employees.
3536 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Just looking at your employment equity figures quickly, it would seem like the aboriginal category is perhaps the one where you have got the most progress yet to make.
3537 MS BELL: Yes.
3538 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: When you are looking at the inclusion of people, does this involve off air and on air or how does your overall employment equity objective tie in with your on air portrayal? I'm thinking of news especially.
3539 MS BELL: And you are referring to the hiring practices?
3540 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes.
3541 MS BELL: This will apply to on air and off air.
3542 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes. It will, okay.
3543 Can I ask you, Mr. MacDonald, how you go about increasing the number of visible minorities and aboriginal people on air?
3544 MR. MacDONALD: On the air?
3545 It's a management decision that we need to reflect the make up of our communities. And there is no formal mechanism. We live within these guidelines in terms of employment equity but I think it's a sensitivity and awareness issue on the management side and something we are stressing. But there is no formal mechanism to ensure that there is a reflection on the air other than that is the instruction, the corporate instruction to the men and women who operate our news operations and the general managers above them.
3546 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: My guess is of this list of things that you have mentioned, Ms Bell, about employment equity, certainly the instruction to the general managers is perhaps most key. Is that where the hiring takes place or the responsibility for hiring lies?
3547 MS BELL: Yes, it does.
3548 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Because often it is that middle management, the people who actually do the hiring are the ones that can make the change or not.
3549 Can I ask you, Mr. Noble and Mr. Asper, about how you see the senior management or the board of directors of Global evolve over time? With respect, you have a very extremely highly talented group in front of us, but they perhaps don't reflect the audience you want to be watching your station as well.
3550 MR. ASPER: Well, first of all, in terms of our board of directors and our company in general, I would like to point out because it's something of which I'm very proud, we have been listed by a group who manages this or watches this as one of the 50 most ethical companies in which to invest based on our hiring practices and based on our board representation, which is 33 per cent female at this point or about 30 per cent female.
3551 Admittedly, I think in the overall senior management it probably isn't as representative as it should be and I have recently, in the corporate office, for the first time ever hired a vice president of Human Resources to look at exactly those issues. Because as the company has grown various components of the company have looked at those issues and been proactive, I think. But as a corporate entity we have just grown and gotten a lot bigger and it has got to be something that becomes driven daily by the corporate office in Winnipeg.
3552 So it is something we are going to improve upon, but I am happy to say that I am very proud of the recognition we have had with respect to our progress in that regard already.
3553 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Can I ask now as I try to pull together the various things we have talked about and this has been very helpful, if I go back to our policy of 1999, there are a couple of things we were looking for. One was a task force that would be industry and community based, meaning people who have an interest in it, in these issues. And certainly the CAB and others had put the idea of a task force to us and been very supportive of it.
3554 There are other guidelines that came through. I would suggest to you that they are perhaps a lot less skimpy than the kinds of things you have talked about today so maybe those form the beginnings of what would be a plan or any kind of action plan. But I think what you have outlined today and provided to us in documentation is a bit more -- quite a bit more comprehensive.
3555 So could I ask two things. One is whether you are committed or interested in seeing the task force that was talked about two years ago happening which would be industry and community based, whether you would be able to put any resources to it, especially in terms of trying to ensure there was some community participation?
3556 MR. NOBLE: Absolutely, Commissioner, and we will be involved and support that task force and recommend the various community groups do become involved.
3557 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay.
3558 MR. ASPER: Commissioner, I just wanted to add one thing.
3559 The CanWest Global Foundation has as one of its mandates, while it heavily skews towards support of the performing arts, it also has an envelope annually for support of aboriginal business and education programs. And we particularly support the prairie institutions, the Canadian Federated Indian College in Saskatchewan, the University of Regina Native Law Program and the Aboriginal Business Education Program in Winnipeg. And it has got a specific envelope that my sister, Gail Asper and Jeff Elliott from our head office manage.
3560 So that is another thing we are trying to do to train aboriginal management coming through the ranks.
3561 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I certainly noticed that. I mentioned your participation at the APTN licensing hearing and I suppose this is some -- one of the benefits of having companies that are headquartered outside of Toronto. You kind of realize and breed into you some of the realities of things that happen outside of the confines of Toronto.
3562 So I suppose Global has become very familiar and interested in aboriginal issues. You live the experience much more in Winnipeg than people do in Toronto, for example. So I commend you on that and on the kinds of things that you have outlined both right now and in your documentation.
3563 Could we ask also for you to outline for us the kind of plan you have, the six point, the five point and any other number of points you have in the form of a formal plan, the kind of thing that we had looked for in our 1999 policy. And if we asked to file that within three or six months, is that something you could provide us with?
3564 MR. NOBLE: Yes.
3565 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And you would be prepared to provide us with annual updates on that?
3566 MR. NOBLE: Absolutely.
3567 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Before I let the mike go, let me just have a quick look at -- well, you set your own pace here so I have got to make sure I covered my questions.
3568 The person who is primarily responsible for this initiative overall is who?
3569 MR. NOBLE: It will be our vice president of Human Resources and myself.
3570 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. That covers my questions. Thanks very much.
3571 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
3572 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Cardozo. I will now turn to Commissioner Pennefather.
3573 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you and good morning. We are going to discuss how Global intends to serve Canadians who are visually impaired. And I would just like to note for you and for the record that it seemed the last time I continually said "digital" when I meant "described." So I have written it down very large here but for the record I am referring to described video programming.
3574 As you know, the TV Policy states that we will be asking you, as we are today, on your progress in implementing described video programming.
3575 Just to situate your position, we note that in your application you did say that you had no immediate plans for described video programming.
3576 However, in the deficiency letter of February 6 you in fact brought some interesting clarifications to your position and said that it would be possible on an occasional basis to provide DBS programming in the three major markets, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. You say it is reasonable to commit to an average of one hour per month, increasing by one hour per month over the license term.
3577 So, if I understand it, that is where our conversation will start.
3578 To cut to the quick, I think you would be aware of the conversation that we had with CTV on this matter the other day?
3579 MR. NOBLE: Yes, we are.
3580 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So I was wondering then, I think you are aware that what we talked about was the costs, the capital costs of described video programming, the amount of programming that we could look forward to having available to visually impaired Canadians and the requirement possibly that would be looked at for Global.
3581 On the matter of costs, we went through a process of looking at a market-per-market approach and what your assessments of those costs were.
3582 You have received a copy of the CTV information and proposal and I'm wondering if you could comment on that proposal and elaborate on how you think it might also apply to Global?
3583 MR. NOBLE: Thank you, Commissioner Pennefather.
3584 Yes, we did watch the exchange with CTV and we applaud the reference in this area.
3585 Yesterday our engineers spoke at length with their engineers and we agree that the capital cost to roll this out across the country for Global is similar to the CTV, with some differences in the regions. It is somewhere between $1.5 million and $2 million.
3586 I think that the bigger point here is, I had not realized that this is a significant portion of the population, visually impaired. I had not really put my mind to it. I think that, like CTV, we are missing -- we are not serving the total audience here. I think this is an important initiative and I again applaud CTV for setting the policy -- setting the bar, shall I say.
3587 Global is quite willing to match their proposal over the term of our licence.
3588 I guess this is one advantage, Commissioner, of allowing Global to grow and to get big. We can now do these sorts of things which address different audiences. We have the financial capacity and the size to be able to commit to this sort of funding and this sort of initiative.
3589 I will just toss the microphone over to Doug Bonar, our Senior Vice-President of Technology, who can lead you through what we see as our plan, which has some difference to the CTV plan, but I think overall is a matching commitment.
3590 MR. BONAR: Good morning.
3591 Commissioner, I would like to clear up a financial issue that I think has been confusing. I think Mr. Morris yesterday did a great job of explaining some of the difficulties within plants to really handle the descriptive portions.
3592 When the United States said that it only cost $35,000 for a passthrough, what they were talking about is an affiliate station that was receiving from a major source programming that contained the property. So, in other words, it was downlinked by satellite, button was pressed, it went out, and it was received through the transmitter. So really it is not passthrough, it is bypass. It has not gone through the plant.
3593 So when we talk about the cost to do this, we are talking about having a plant that is neutral to the extra level of audio. All our plants are stereo. They are not able to handle this extra channel.
3594 So in order that we can handle programming that comes from the U.S., programming that comes in our Canadian content, we have to make the plant neutral, as we did for closed captioning many years ago, to open up line 21.
3595 So that is where the extra costs come in. We are not quibbling with that number, that $35,000 Canadian, it is the rest of the infrastructure, the routing switches, getting to our satellite delivery systems and so on.
3596 So, having said that, it is a number around 1.5. I know you said it's a magic number again, but I can't break down every station because we are different to CTV again. The network programs where -- we have seven station hubs that also receive and distribute programming. So it is a different formula.
3597 However, I do have their rollout plan and I thought that probably if we were to take this matrix and look at the places that receive the descriptive video later in the plan, and if we accelerate, perhaps, our stations, we can probably do a matrix that serves more of the people rather quickly.
3598 To give you an example, we could handle -- where they in year seven are looking at Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins, we could accelerate that to the year one because we are an Ontario network and through our satellite transmission we could get to these communities. So I would like to do a matrix on here that is complementary to their presentation, bearing in mind that we would still have the same program level of rollout, if that was acceptable.
3599 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So to clarify, the same rollout of program, you mean the four hours per week in the end?
3600 MR. BONAR: In the end, yes.
3601 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Yes.
3602 MR. BONAR: That would be two in year one, three in year three, four in year five.
3603 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: When you say you could advance the grouping of stations, Sudbury through Prince Albert -- and I'm looking at the same CTV chart -- would you still, however, include the major markets of Toronto, Vancouver, that you had originally proposed in your deficiency letter would be up first?
3604 MR. BONAR: Actually, I would rather do the satellite upgrade to move that to the first year so that I could get to all of Ontario, because in our first submission we said only Toronto. So we would move the Montreal market and Vancouver market into the second year and deal with those -- all the Ontario markets in the first year, which would include Ottawa.
3605 So there would be an acceleration and definitely a benefit with this kind of plan.
3606 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So could you table that plan with us in writing?
3607 MR. BONAR: Yes, we can.
3608 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I have a question for you, then, on the capital costs. It would be similar, then, to what CTV has also approached with some detailed difference because of the different structure of the network.
3609 MR. BONAR: Yes.
3610 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But again, it is a cost that is here related to transmitter use.
3611 MR. BONAR: Yes. The transmitter part of this is really easy. It is maybe an $8,000 job. If you look at -- we have 60 major transmitters across the country and, say, 10 of them are already SAP-enabled, there are 50 left, that is 500,000, that would be one number.
3612 But we are in a state of flux. We are integrating our properties. We are examining adding additional equipment.
3613 I wouldn't want to say that all the costs of all the new equipment is referred to as attributed to this particular undertaking, but there are some costs in our new routing switches that we will buy. But we will have to add an incremental number of around $1.5 to $2 million overall over the period to handle this situation.
3614 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But considering that it is a ramp-up approach, it is not a number which is meaning you won't start. What we are looking at is a gradual increase of markets and a gradual increase of programming.
3615 You mentioned the passthrough. Certainly I have read through the NBRS, National Federation for the Blind and the FCC report, and one question that I wondered if you had some comment on was in fact the costs regarding cable and DTH delivery of described video programming.
3616 We have the transmitter costs -- and I'm very glad, very pleased to have that because that has been one of our problems -- but there is the component you rightly mentioned, delivery by cable and DTH. Do you have an understanding of what those costs would be?
3617 MR. BONAR: Yes. We did have conversations with cable and I don't think that is an expensive part of this proposition. I think it maybe is $1,000 per cable system.
3618 The situation with DTH is strictly bandwidth. They do have to give up bandwidth to add a program. Their systems are able to handle several languages, so they would just allocate a part of that for language.
3619 But this is an industry-wide situation that, yes, we can broadcast. Yes, we can handle it. It will come from our transmitters, but everybody has to do their part so that it gets to the actual consumer. So we kick it off.
3620 I think that this plan is complementary to CTV's. It probably is, considering the way close captioning started. This is really an accelerated effort, I believe.
3621 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you.
3622 We certainly appreciate the fact that both the major conventional broadcasters stepped up to the plate, to use your term of yesterday, and as you noted so well, see this differently, if I may coin a phrase, and secondly that you have taken the leadership in breaking through what seemed to be an impasse in terms of this costs aspect.
3623 So therefore, you will submit to us a plan which is a ramp up of markets available and programming available and, as I discussed with CTV, what would be your comment on this becoming a condition of licence.
3624 MR. NOBLE: Over the seven-year term, I think that would be appropriate.
3625 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you.
3626 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3628 MR. ASPER: One kick means yes and two kicks means no.
--- Laughter / Rires
3629 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Same here.
3630 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Pennefather.
3631 Ladies and gentlemen, we will now turn to Commissioner Wylie, and I don't know how your shins will fare up with this next line of questioning.
3632 MR. ASPER: We will just get some pads. We will be back in a minute.
3633 THE CHAIRPERSON: If I see you grimace from time to time, we will know there is some kicking going on under the table.
3634 Vice-Chair Wylie.
3635 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I hope we don't end the day with a Commissioner with bruised legs.
--- Laughter / Rires
3636 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Good morning.
3637 Some of my questioning will, of course, be déjà heard in light of the fact that we want to be thorough with both of you. I will repeat where it's appropriate the same questions to give you the opportunity to hopefully not give the same answers on all counts and, of course, to illuminate us on the difference between the various cases of the ownership that we have looked at and why there should be a different approach by us in each case.
3638 So as a preamble we want, of course, to make sure that it's understood that we understand we are not empowered to regulate the print industry, but to remind parties that the Commission has taken the position that it has the responsibility to ensure that ownership of other media by its broadcasting licensees does not reduce the number of news and information voices available to Canadians or the quality of broadcasting programming.
3639 The question, therefore, has been raised in a notice of public hearing as to whether it would be appropriate to have mechanisms to ensure a proper level of functional independence between broadcasting and print assets owned by a licensed broadcaster.
3640 In this regard, I note that CanWest -- if you allow me to simply use the word CanWest -- although it's not always absolutely correct, but as a corporate vehicle, owns TV stations in all major centres and two TV stations in two major centres, that is Vancouver-Victoria and Toronto-Hamilton.
3641 It now also owns -- the numbers are not always expressed in the same manner so I stand to be corrected -- but sometimes we say 13 major dailies, sometimes 14, and some 135-136 daily-weekly newspapers, 50 per cent of the National Post, and now is licensed for eight Category 2 licences in the news genre.
3642 Also city newspapers, CanWest Interactive, which has Internet properties in 14 major markets through globaltv.com. with some 30 websites which is quite an array of shall we say platforms for distributing news and information.
3643 So there are a number of areas I will explore with you. One is the potential negative impact on the diversity of voices, editorial independence and quality of broadcast programming that could result from CanWest media ownership and whether this negative impact is inevitable without safeguards from the exploitation of the synergies inherent in cross-ownership, and the safeguards, if any, that should be imposed, including functional separation between editorial decision-making and management of the broadcasting and print media, the need for a specific code of conduct to ensure that separation and the need for a specific complaints mechanism applicable to broadcasters who own other media assets and editorial board or other board membership restrictions as between the two types of assets.
3644 Now you are well aware, as we all are by now, that for better or for worse, with say Mr. Desbarats, we have already exercised some of what we perceive to be our jurisdiction in the case of Québecor and TQS. We have also had some foray into that area when Rogers purchased Maclean Hunter. We have also discussed with TVA and Québecor a few weeks ago in the transfer the possibility of even a modified approach to the code of conduct, a strengthened code we would see, and the continuation of a complaints mechanism.
3645 Of course, no decision has been rendered on that, and we have reimposed, in the renewal of TQS owned by Québecor, some board separation as well as -- I think it was 1999 -- the renewal. We have reimposed some of the board restrictions, albeit modified, that we had imposed originally when TQS was transferred to Québecor.
3646 So we do have precedents. We heard yesterday or the day before -- it's all the same now, Mr. Chairman, it seems we have been doing that day and night -- discussed with CTV who has the same or similar cross-media ownership what the differences are between various companies in an attempt to see what is a fair way of treating people and finding differences that warrant different treatment.
3647 So to get to Global's position now. In your vision statement, you talk about your vision of this cross-media ownership and what it can bring and you see this combination as giving you -- and I am reading from your vision statement in the multi-station group addendum at page 5. Do you know where I am? And I quote -- with this concentration and having print and broadcasting under one umbrella -- you talk about:
"This combined with the widest possible capability to deliver valuable content to audiences through conventional specialty television, newspapers, magazines, Internet portals, provides the capacity to cross-promote both our content and delivery platform and will allow us to build audiences and achieve the economies of scale needed in order to invest in quality Canadian programming thus furthering the objectives of the Broadcasting Act".
3648 So I take your position as saying this will be beneficial and in the end viewers will not get less, they will get more.
3649 Similarly in your specialty brief -- supplementary brief rather -- at page 15, you talk about the necessity to build the necessary critical mass to become an industry leader and to bring various media under one umbrella to amortize the costs, et cetera. At page 13 of the same brief you tell us that the cost savings and infrastructure will more likely allow more voices to be heard.
3650 Now what are the actual synergies in practical terms that will lead to these benefits before we then look at what are the negatives that can flow from that? You list some of them at pages 11, 12, 13 of your supplementary brief:
"In broad terms, larger groups are better able to invest in the required technology, synergies lead to cost savings and value addition. It allows for better opportunities for infrastructure modernization, for investment in new equipment". (As read)
3651 That's in your deficiency response at page 5 of the response of February 6th:
"More efficient space and infrastructure utilization..."
3652 At page 3:
"Consolidation of news stories to free up journalistic resources to cover additional stories and do more investigative reporting". (As read)
3653 And at page 5:
"Possibilities of deploying news gatherings of each medium to achieve broader coverage for each audience". (As read)
3654 So what you are telling us is you put more of all of this together and say, "Don't worry, there will be better quality and more voices and more information in broad terms".
3655 Could you give us some specific or practical examples this morning, as you have in the reply which I read last night -- as Commissioner Grauer was saying, we only got it last night but I did read it -- examples of where more was done, because both the station and the newspaper in the community got on with the news job. Could you expand further.
3656 Of course, I will next focus, as you can well imagine, on what are the negatives that can flow from that.
3657 MR. ASPER: Commissioner Wylie, my head is swimming a little bit, but I will try to bring your questions and your comments down to some very simple precepts.
3658 I will call upon Russ Mills and Peter Kent, who will now get a chance to speak, as well as Ken MacDonald.
3659 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: After yesterday, I thought I had better get my piece in first.
3660 MR. ASPER: You answered the question quite well, I thought.
3661 The basic premise that common ownership reduces diversity is something that has been stated, but I believe there is simply no evidence that that is the case.
3662 Any journalist will tell you -- and my experience with print and certainly my lengthy experience with television journalism -- is that editors are fiercely independent, and they speak in each media to different audiences and protect that audience.
3663 I believe that the consumer is going to make the decision ultimately about whether they feel that a particular newspaper or television station in one city are suddenly speaking with one voice, not two. I can certainly tell you that a print editor will approach the audience very differently and the consumer very differently than a television news programmer will.
3664 I believe the first premise, that ownership reduces diversity, is false and certainly unproven.
3665 The second comment I would make is that while it is nice to list a number of assets on a piece of paper, I think the evidence we have filed and the statistical data, in particular provided by Ken Goldstein, does show that diversity today -- even if one accepts the premise that ownership reduces diversity, diversity today is exponentially higher and more prevalent than it ever has been in the history of media because of the exploding number of media choices that are available to Canadians, and I would say even in the Quebec market.
3666 One thing you did say yesterday was that CTV and Global, I assume you presumed by our silence, had some sympathy with or agreed with the code of conduct that was imposed or offered by Québecor.
3667 I would like to state for the record that we do not believe even that is necessary. With all due respect to all the parties involved, we believe that is bordering on if not unconstitutional and a serious imposition against freedom of speech.
3668 We are not at this hour discussing Québecor's code, and we will come to it.
3669 The last point, before I turn it over to the individuals I mentioned to talk about specific examples of how we have achieved three things -- and I will come to those three things. The last point is that there are more voices being heard where they were never heard before.
3670 If a columnist on The Vancouver Sun is now exposed nationally through television or appearing in other print assets, newspapers, magazines, there is more for Canadians. There are more voices in different regions.
3671 I don't think Haligonians hear a lot about what happens in Vancouver, except maybe one story on the CBC national news.
3672 We have a chance to do exactly what we have been saying for many years with our broadcast: east to west and west to east, and I guess there is a centrality somewhere called Ontario and Quebec in there. But certainly getting the country talking to each other is something we are going to do more with these assets, and that is good.
3673 It boils down for us to three benefits: the breadth of reporting, the depth of reporting and the fact that there is more. So breadth, depth and more content.
3674 I would like to turn it over now to Ken MacDonald to discuss a little bit more about some of the benefits that in particular accrue to the television group even more so than to the newspaper group.
3675 MR. MacDONALD: Thank you, Leonard.
3676 On the journalism side it is important to talk about what this is about and what it is not about, and there has been a lot of debate about both.
3677 What it is about, in our view, is more stories and enriched journalism for our viewers; a greater reach for our viewers than we might otherwise have; more eyes and ears, not only locally and regionally but across the country.
3678 What this is not about is about saving a lot of money on editorial jobs. It is not about creating homogenous newsrooms of ambidextrous journalists -- somebody was talking yesterday about somebody running around with a pad and a television camera and a satellite transmitter -- although there are opportunities here for those uniquely talented individuals who can work cross-platform. We are seeing some of that.
3679 In a moment I am going to turn it over to Peter to talk about some of the concrete examples. We mentioned a couple already: the bullying series in Vancouver, where we took some of our best and brightest on the TV side, and they in a strategic collaboration with their counterparts took an issue like bullying -- or we could talk about Calgary where they did issues on the lives of police officers and the stresses they find every day and problems with suicide and alcoholism, and so on.
3680 They are both compelling issues and both complex issues.
3681 The journalists from the print side and the journalists from the TV side went out and looked at that story. They did not travel together as a pack and look at all elements together and then tell the same story in print and on television. They looked at different areas, different angles.
3682 In the case of bullying, the print people may have looked at teachers and the impacts in the schools, what teachers are doing about it. The TV side may look at parents and in the home, how institutions are reacting to a serious problem.
3683 As a result, the product that resulted was far more in-depth and far more compelling and more far-reaching than would otherwise have been the case as a result of that collaboration.
3684 Again, the benefit was to the public. TV would not have had the resources to do that kind of in-depth work and give it that kind of coverage over a long period of days. Similarly with print, there would be elements of that story, given the economic realities and the journalistic demands day-to-day, that they would not have been able to cover. And the public would not have had such a thorough treatment on such a serious and important issue.
3685 That is one example, and Peter may talk about more.
3686 The other thing I would like to talk about is the cross-platform work, because I think that is where there is some concern.
3687 First of all, we have said it and I thought CTV enunciated it very well yesterday as well. Indeed, I agree with many of the arguments put forward by my colleague Mr. LaPointe in this regard. So to some extent there may be a lack of diversity of voice in this hearing on that particular part of the issue.
3688 Basically, TV is TV and newspapers are newspapers. It would be journalistic and business suicide to try to have all journalists working cross-platform and have one uniform product.
3689 If you read your newspaper today, there will be some similarities to what you saw in the news last night or may see tonight, both in terms of the numbers of stories included, in the treatment of stories and where they are portrayed -- i.e., on the front page of the newspaper or in the newscast.
3690 Whether it is in the A block or the D block of the newscast, it is quite different. And there is a reason for that. People read differently from how they watch TV. We assume that people are doing more than just watching the television newscast or reading the newspaper. They get their news from a lot of different sources. That is key and that is important. And this principle does not in any way violate that principle or that reality.
3691 However, there is room for cross-platform work. I talked about more stories. In one respect we are able to tell more stories on the television side because we spend a great deal of time sending cameras and reporters to news conferences, which consist of little more than the reading of a press release.
3692 You have to be there; you have to get the content. Chances are you may not even use that tape. You go out and you flesh out the story with the individuals involved. But it does take a lot of person power, both on the newspaper side and the TV side, and there are opportunities here to perhaps send one journalist -- or if there is a print journalist going, they can convey the information back, pick up the press release, that kind of thing.
3693 So there are opportunities there. There are also opportunities for true cross-platform work by journalists, who may tell a story in print but have an opportunity also to tell a different dimension of that story on television and bring it to our viewers who may or may not have read the story in print, but even if they have they are going to get a different angle or a complementary angle to that story.
3694 We talked about the Québecor code, and quite frankly in some respects I think it offends many principles of journalism: not being able to talk to somebody on the print side, somebody on the TV side not talking to somebody on the print side or communicating.
3695 Even before we had these acquisitions, there has been some degree of collaboration between print and television. Although I understand the context within which that code occurred, I think in some respects it is a step backward.
3696 I have been in broadcast journalism for I guess 24 years now. I have only been in broadcast journalism. I had a brief flirtation with print, in that I dutifully delivered 27 Hamilton Spectators door-to-door, but that was 35 years ago. That was the extent of my career in print, and I have never thought about doing anything in print. But these days that is changing.
3697 As I mentioned, there are uniquely talented people coming through the system who can work cross-platform quite effectively, who want to work cross-platform quite effectively.
3698 If we look at the Québecor code that would frustrate in our case, in the case of our television stations and our newspapers, that would frustrate the ability of those journalists to expand their horizons and to truly demonstrate the full range of their talents and their abilities to the benefit of our television viewers.
3699 I think those are the key points.
3700 The other point I want to make which is critical, because you folks regulate television, which is our business -- and as you pointed out, Commissioner Wylie, not newspapers -- the real benefit here in a lot of respects is to our television viewers.
3701 Because of the economies of our business, there are far more newspaper reporters out there on the street than there are television reporters. The newspapers cover a wider area. All of a sudden we have access to those people; not all of them, not every day. We would not tell them to file their newspaper stories to television. In fact, we would not tell them anything, because they have their own editorial stream. And that is the way it should be.
3702 Newspapers are newspapers; TV is TV. I keep coming back to that point.
3703 But it is more eyes and ears in every nook and cranny of the country on the TV side. If there is a story we cannot get at logistically and physically and cannot get a camera crew to, there may be a print reporter who has covered that story that we can get access to. So it adds stories to our television newscast. Those are stories that we might not have otherwise had.
3704 I think those are, in essence, some of the key benefits to the TV side.
3705 I could go on at more length, but I am conscious of the fact that many of these arguments were very eloquently expressed by Mr. LaPointe, and I subscribe to those.
3706 At this point, I would like to turn it over, if that is all right, Commissioner Wylie, to Peter Kent to talk about one or two of the other concrete examples.
3707 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Go ahead.
3708 I must say, Mr. Asper, that we were talking about bruising people's legs this morning, but I think raising a constitutional challenge is going for the kneecap.
--- Laughter / Rires
3709 MR. ASPER: I assure you it was not directed at you -- I think I will stop here.
3710 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Good idea.
3711 Mr. Kent, you are not a constitutional expert, I hope.
3712 MR. KENT: I am not. I don't think, though, that we can stress too often the difference between the CanWest model on content convergence and those of other Canadian media groups.
3713 The good news for "Global Television News" is that we are now part of the largest news gathering organization in the country bar none. The good news for the Commission is that, as Ken has begun to outline this morning, is that despite benefits which are already flowing both ways in news gathering, it is the television side that is gaining the preponderance of those benefits.
3714 The best news from the Commission's point of view I think is that the greatest benefits from those are found in our local communities across the country.
3715 There will be national benefits for our national newscasts and national current affairs and information programs, but the greatest linkage and cross-pollination, if you will, is in our local communities between our local stations and the local newspapers.
3716 Going a bit beyond what Ken has just outlined, we are not talking just about complementary feature projects which you saw in our opening video and which Ken reminded you of this morning and we are not talking of the simply Global television news as access to the original reporting of the Southam chain, the National Post, the Financial Post and the Southam News Services and all of the specialty reporting that's contained therein, the coordination that we are doing now with the specialty reporters in health news, for example, financial news, sports news.
3717 We aren't even talking about the availability of print journalists to provide that breadth and depth that Leonard mentioned in terms of our cameras in newsrooms across the country between local stations and the newsrooms and the print reporters expertise and the stories that they covered, again to provide breadth and depth.
3718 We are talking about getting new -- opening Global's access and coverage of parts of the country where we do not now have permanent staff. In Prince Edward Island, for example, and in Newfoundland those cameras in the newsrooms and the collaboration of the assignment desks, news editors and reporters between Global television crews and print journalists has already enhanced greatly our coverage of this country under the provisions of our licences.
3719 It has not meant fewer jobs, it has not meant less coverage, it has not meant more common coverage. It has meant greater access and greater complementary coverage and certainly the greatest benefits, as I have said, have been on the television side of the equation to this point.
3720 We might monitor this quite closely, our content convergence committees on which members of both our print and television properties sit. If you would like, I could relay to you a couple of recent examples, some minor. A lot of the benefits of this content convergence is not spectacular, but it is providing new depth in new areas, greater diversity in our ability as television broadcasters to cover and in some other ways of benefits which do flow the other way to our print columns.
3721 For example, this is an example of a less significant perhaps, but from Global's Edmonton newsroom last week we received word that the Edmonton Journal's curling writer, who was in Switzerland for the World Curling Championships, was able to file alive up to the minute reports by telephone granted, but it added to the information and relevance of that sports story to the journals and Edmonton audience.
3722 Also from Edmonton last week, a project initiated by the Journal. One of their reporters was working on a story involving two sisters reunited with a younger brother last week after a separation of 70 years. They had all been put up for adoption and their father because of family difficulties had led them to be separate.
3723 The Journal photographer used a digital video camera supplied by Global at the airport and at a reunion party later. Then the Journal reporter who was covering the story for his newspaper appeared on Global Television's morning show the next day to talk over those pictures and to deliver that story.
3724 From Global's Halifax newsroom last week word of the new benefits of shared news gathering resources involving the collaboration of the Charlottetown Guardian and our maritime television teams, Global's Moncton cameraman was linked by staff at the Guardian to access interviews with P.E.I. farmers about the U.S. embargo on potatoes exported to the south or not exported to the south which allowed the Moncton reporter, who is also a telejournalist, to cover another story that day in New Brunswick. The end result was two stories instead of one, two television video stories rather than one on our maritime newscast.
3725 Finally, from Saskatoon word last week of the highly successful cross-promotion with the Star Phoenix of a Global TV series on Saskatchewan soldiers in Bosnia. Anecdotal evidence from our newsroom in Saskatoon from feedback on the street was that many of the viewers in that community tuned in because of the Star Phoenix cross-promotion.
3726 I have any number of other examples, but I won't belabour them.
3727 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I'm not surprised. Of course, we understand, as I indicated yesterday, that you would bring up examples where there may have been better coverage of issues because you can work across two platforms.
3728 What we are looking at is what are the possible negatives of that with regard to the diversity of voices is the television going to be another, a secondary or an organ similar to the newspaper over time? It's more of an issue of whether there will be two questions looked at, for example, looked at bullying and maybe employment equity or the plight of single parents with the tax system that we have or the employment insurance system that we have, et cetera, rather than a better coverage of bullying. That's what diversity of voices means as well.
3729 Diversity means more than one, not necessarily better. We, of course, understand that it can be better and more effective and there's cost savings, et cetera, but what we look at is what will be the effect on the output of our television licensees and will it end up that they will be another platform from another organ that we don't regulate.
3730 Mr. Asper, we are trying to stay within our jurisdiction. I would like to keep both my kneecaps if I can.
3731 If there is a negative to this, it is certainly arguable there is a negative, and the question becomes is there a need for mechanisms that will allow in this different world which we are quite aware of to get the benefits, but to also forestall the development of the negatives over time?
3732 You, either because you don't want us to raise our eyebrows or break your kneecaps, offer yourself some separation, or whether it's because you believe in its need, some mechanisms that would achieve that goal. Why is it, for example, that you offer that indeed there will be separate editorial teams for TV and print? We can discuss further what it is you mean by that and its effectiveness. This is in your 6 February response at page 5.
3733 On the 14th of February you say that it means that news directors and staff at TV stations and staff at newspapers will be separate. In your presentation yesterday you spoke of clear and distinct editorial management structures. You offered separate senior management in editorial personnel and in your vision, to which I referred this morning, at page 6 you talk of maintenance of clear and distinct management structures for each medium.
3734 Why is this offered? Do you think it's necessary? It's to appease us and those intervenors who are critical of unchecked potential merging of media to activities?
3735 MR. ASPER: Commissioner Wylie, I think it's always important to distinguish between what is probable and what is possible. What I mean by that is it is true that if the Chief Executive Officer of CanWest Global, in my own person, wanted to have all the media that we own speak with one monolithic voice, I suppose structurally I could do that, but that would be commercial suicide, number one.
3736 I preface all of this by resting on the principle that even if I did, there is so much diversity within the other media that we do not own today, it is still not something that we should be concerned about.
3737 I may not be a constitutional lawyer but I do have some background in legal training and I think the old principle that justice must be seen to be done as well as done is something that may be applicable here, that perception is as important as reality in terms of how independent the various media voices are.
3738 Therefore, we do believe that it is important to send a signal that we are serious about maintaining editorial separation so that even if BCTV and the Vancouver Province, for example, work on a story together, that story comes out differently because the editor of the Vancouver Province speaks to the readers of Vancouver Province. A news editor or the news programmer of BCTV speaks to the people who watch BCTV who are a different audience.
3739 It is from a commercial standpoint important to maintain separate brands and separate entities from the perspective of the audiences we serve and the consumers who consume our media, but it's also something we are willing to offer as something to ensure that, as I say, justice is seen to be done.
3740 Independence is there even if collaboration is behind the scenes, allowing the media, the newspapers, the television stations and even the websites to throw more resources at a particular story.
3741 We have offered things. I think there are some commercial imperatives that ensure this. There are, as you know, press councils and there is a Broadcast Standards Council that is a complaint mechanism for those who believe there is a problem or a concern and we have committed to support those and ensure that all of our media support those.
3742 May I remind you also that, and I come back to the evidence of there being an issue here or a problem, that Canadian Press has been the most integrated broadcast news and print journalism entity. It has existed for I'm not sure how many years, 50, 60, 70 years, as an integrated news provider of television and print news to all Canadians.
3743 There has been no complaint that I know of of Canadian Press providing so much news to so many Canadians under one umbrella.
3744 We believe that the safeguards we have proffered are appropriate, the commercial imperatives buttress those and that's our approach to this issue.
3745 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I have read the intervention by the Canadian Press. It's a different story in a sense because they forward information to various media people of which CanWest is a member, et cetera.
3746 What we seem to be ad idem about is that it is possible that over time that there would be a negative or perceived at least by some to be a negative impact.
3747 You speak about editorial independence. As you may have noticed, although the Commission is concerned about editorial independence as well, it's more concerned about diversity and the two are different stories. It may well be that you as an owner don't get involved in the editorial direction or you may. And you may even if you have only newspaper and not TV. It depends on personalities, it depends on what people have -- are prepared to risk in terms of, I agree with you, eventually if it all looks the same, there will be entry of someone with a different view.
3748 What we are talking about most here, although I am not saying the Commission is not interested in and concerned about editorial independence, is diversity. And the question of whether they will eventually be less or more or more of the same because of cost media ownership.
3749 And when you talk about editorial boards, we still have a suggestion in your written brief that the synergies of working together will end up in a -- or could end up without safeguards of a melding, of the gathering of information and the choices that are made which may become the same.
3750 Could it be, for example, that the same personnel will gather the news, that the same personnel will perform the research, the investigation in the development of projects, that the two teams will work in the same location, using the same equipment, the same computer system for information gathering, the same training, the same supervisors and work together at cross-promotion and cross-sales? And what over time can the effect of this be?
3751 I look at your supplementary brief at page 14 and I read:
"By melding the high quality news, information and entertainment content of our print, television holdings and radio with our successful internet portals and newspaper websites, CanWest is poised to take a leadership in media convergence." (As read)
3752 So convergence is melding all of this together. That is the problem to us. The apparent problem that can result if there are no safeguards. And I would like to understand better how you think that there could be functional, meaningful separate editorial policy at the top when there is consolidation of staff and the use of joint investigation, development of projects, news gathering, research.
3753 MR. ASPER: I think it comes back to the issue of the editorial independence. Because no matter how much the -- to use again the B.C. example -- how much the editor of the Vancouver Province wanted to do a joint effort on bullying in schools, if the editor of BCTV or the news editor, news programmer decided that it was not a big issue, it just wouldn't happen.
3754 So there is always the control that is at the editorial level that we do not plan and it's practically impossible to interfere with. And I guess all a bit of a liquid, not a solid, if you will. It's a very -- journalism is an art, not a science. So there are no formulas here but it's a question of human nature when people are in the same organization is such that there tends to be some collaboration, some cooperation.
3755 But the stocking of the content store, if you will, still does not interfere with the selection of the editors, what they will pluck or acquire or buy from that store. And we think the integrity of the editorial separate is the touch point of where the whole system rests.
3756 So whatever forces work around that, there is a point there where diversity is protected.
3757 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, your example about billing is good if the TV and the newspaper were not under the same roof, owned by the same owner, perhaps with the same boss, with the same budget. And guidelines if they were under the same ownership, they sure wouldn't go and say, "I'm planning to do an investigation on bullying. Do you think it's a good idea? Would you do that with me?" The likelihood of the two doing it together, as opposed to one saying, "No, no, no, I'm on another story," in any event, the conversation would never occur. That is the crux of the problem. Is convergence, synergies, cost savings have the potential to lead to sameness. That is our biggest concern.
3758 MR. KENT: With respect, Commissioner, those conversations do take place on a daily basis. There are constant disagreements. As many disagreements between assignment desks on the timing and collaboration on certain projects as there are where they may agree.
3759 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes, but what I'm saying is if you would not go to a competing newspaper and discuss whether a story on bullying can be done together. You are talking about inside your own organization.
3760 MR. KENT: But that doesn't necessarily and I have seen absolutely no evidence of it as a practising journalist, but it's negative.
3761 MR. ASPER: Commissioner Wylie, can I ask Ken -- sorry.
3762 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, presumably there may be one story where there could have been two or one thing covered instead of two.
3763 MR. KENT: No, these are -- but these are two stories. It's one plus one makes two. These aren't the same stories being translated, one the television script into the newspaper or the newspaper story into television. There are two journalists doing two treatments of a story. And print story telling is very different.
3764 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: We understand that. The question is it's still the story about bullying and it's treated differently, of course, for the different formats. But we can't -- perhaps it's a simplistic way of putting it but the question becomes, is it likely to be the same choice, the same story, the same emphasis because it is done by a converged group.
3765 MR. KENT: No.
3766 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And is the only thing left is that at the top there will be a different editorial treatment. Of course, the two are different. The two media are obviously different. It's a question of diversity. Will the same thing be done because people are doing it together in a converged fashion. I understand the benefits but there are also potential negatives.
3767 MR. ASPER: Commissioner Wylie, just to come back to what happens on a daily basis in media anyway. If one looks at the national news, television news, whether it's six o'clock or eleven o'clock, there is some commonality between what the stories are in the national news of separately owned media entities and what is in the newspapers that day because quite often the editors of these various entities sense what the community is interested in.
3768 And so it is very likely that separately owned, separately managed, completely distinct entities in B.C. in that example would have covered bullying. And so that is -- that is going to happen naturally. And where the benefit is, is that they can cover it better and they can cover it both in more breadth, they can interview more people and we also get the benefit in television of reporters -- there is probably ten reporters in every newspaper for everyone in a TV station again because of the economies as Ken mentioned.
3769 In the newspapers reside reporters who have expertise -- like "beats" they call them -- in various areas and have much broader array of areas than TV is allowed to because TV reporters are doing two minute clips, maybe five minute stories that get edited down to two minute clips and they just don't have the ability to become experts. And there is a tremendous wealth and repository of expertise in newspapers that again creates that depth of reporting.
3770 I would like to, if I could, turn it to Ken Goldstein, ironically the former associate deputy minister under the NDP Schryer government in Manitoba while my father was the Liberal leader in that province. But, Ken, if you have -- also Communications Management Inc. So, Ken, do you have some comments.
3771 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I do.
3772 Good morning, Commissioner Wylie.
3773 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Good morning, Mr. Goldstein.
3774 MR. GOLDSTEIN: There is an incredibly powerful fundamental safeguard in the system already and you created it. It's called the fragmented diverse broadcasting system. In Vancouver today, CHAN plus CHEK, which have been under common ownership since 1963, are both owned by CanWest. They have a lower market share combined today than they did in 1975.
3775 In Vancouver today there are three other local television stations. There are about to be two more this fall and there may well be, depending on what you do about a multi-lingual station, another one a year from now.
3776 There are another 16 Canadian services that show up with meaningful audience in the Vancouver market. Another 13 non-Canadian services and 18 private or CBC radio stations in that market for a total of 55 broadcast services and I'm not even counting the small ones that get a sliver of audience.
3777 Now, in that environment, the safeguard is really very straightforward. The biggest safeguard you have are the people who sat here yesterday. The people who with CTV and the Globe and Mail will have it in their interest to expose anything wrong that CanWest and Southam do and vice versa. And the CHUM people who will say, "Hey, we can catch them on this if they do something wrong." There is your most powerful safeguard.
3778 To say that there are potential negatives is possibly true if we were considering this in isolation from the marketplace. If there was no competition of this nature that has it in their interest to maximize their position by pointing out failings. But the fact is this is the most diverse, competitive media market in the world in this country today.
3779 The Commission, of course, recognized this in its television policy. If I will remind you that in your television policy on, I believe, it's paragraph 46 and 47 and I will just read you the one -- you stated that news was no longer going to be a regulatory requirement. And you said because all of the alternatives are available and you also went on to say, and this is at the end of paragraph 46:
"Various information services are also increasingly available on the internet for those who need specific types of local information or who wish to discuss local issues." (As read)
3780 The fact is, is you have already created the safeguards.
3781 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It's interesting that you raise Vancouver, Victoria.
3782 Yes, the Commission has allowed -- has recognized that there may be some benefit in having a single owner continuing in that market. But I kind of forget if you were imposed a code of conduct or if you chose to offer one to be able to have control of both stations.
3783 But in the ensuing decisions at paragraph 39, the Commission required that the commitment of CanWest to have a code of conduct -- vous avez CHEK and CHCH to keep them separate from CIII and CHAN, was that a certain percentage of the programming on each be different, the priority programming to be different and the management of programming and of news at the two stations be kept separate from its sister station. So hopefully in that case we were not breaching any constitution rules because they were both broadcasting undertakings.
3784 But even if the Commission has recognized, as you point out in the reply at page 36, that over the years we have recognized the benefits that may accrue to the broadcasting system and to the public through the potential synergies that arise from consolidation, we have tried to discuss the potential negative impact of it and imposed some separation, even between two broadcasting undertakings, the one you raised.
3785 There is another way of looking at the Vancouver situation, especially when one compares it to Montreal. That is to say that the two major television stations will be owned by CanWest, the three major daily newspapers will be owned by CanWest, plus there will be 11 other small newspapers available in B.C. owned by CanWest and, moreover, the Global National newscasts will emanate from Vancouver.
3786 Vancouver/Victoria is a smaller market than Montreal. In Montreal, over and above the newspapers that were there, a large proportion of the population is bilingual, it has access to the Gazette, to the Globe and Mail to the English-language newspapers and at the time of Québecor's takeover of TQS it also had access of TVA and to La Presse, which is a Power Corporation or Gesca Property. So I'm not surprised that you have to rely on constitutional jurisdictional arguments to distinguish Vancouver from Montreal.
3787 You have to say that we were wrong in Montreal, because it is very difficult for me to differentiate the two as to the apparent need for separation.
3788 I don't know if you have any further comments, Mr. Goldstein, on how one views Montreal and Vancouver and --
3789 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Yes.
3790 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- find the difference, other than saying the Commission has it wrong in Montreal.
3791 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Just coincidentally I happen to have some figures on that subject.
3792 If we compare the Montreal Francophone market -- because I believe that is the appropriate frame of reference when you are dealing with TVA -- the largest single station by audience share in the Montreal Francophone market is CFTM, which is the TVA station, with a 34 per cent share of the tuning versus the just over 20 per cent for CHAN and CHEK in Vancouver.
3793 If you do the same addition of alternative local stations and other services that come up there, you end up -- and the radio services, you end up with a total in Montreal of 32, in Quebec City it is 29 versus the 55 in Vancouver. So you can see that the broadcast market -- I'm viewing this all through the filter and the lens of broadcasting -- the Vancouver broadcast market is far more competitive than the Montreal Francophone market.
3794 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I didn't add in Montreal that of course SRC has a higher viewership than CBC has in English Canada and there is information programming as well as news that is offered through SRC.
3795 I'm not sure, Mr. Goldstein or Mr. Asper, that measuring the BBMs at any given time is addressing the generic issue that we are addressing. BBMs go up and down. When we imposed this code on TQS, I don't know, they may have had as low as an 8 per cent or 9 per cent share. They are now up to 14. Does that make a difference? In seven years how will it change?
3796 I don't think that it addresses the issue of what are the platforms and in whose hands are they and how are they managed in a practical way to keep separation?
3797 MR. MacDONALD: Madam Wylie --
3798 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes?
3799 MR. MacDONALD: If I may, just on the diversity issue and some of the points you have raised, I think we talk about the danger of speaking with one voice. I think you have to look at the operational realities of the editorial structures of both mediums as they exist now in the country.
3800 There is not one voice at CanWest Global in terms of newsgathering and news presentation. Newscast lineups and rundowns are not vetted by Winnipeg. News directors have the freedom to put together the shows that reflect the region in which they work.
3801 Similarly with the newspapers. They are, as we have mentioned, fiercely independent in terms of editorial policy. If you look in Alberta, there are often strong differences in terms of editorial position of the Edmonton paper and the Calgary Herald.
3802 The other safeguard, I think, that is in place in this regard are the men and women who work in television and in the newspapers. They are journalists, they are fiercely independent journalists, they will express their point of view, and were CanWest ever to try to speak in terms of newsgathering and presentation with one voice, I think the journalists would be the first to squawk.
3803 So I just throw that out as another -- it is a reality. It is not a safeguard, but it is a reality, and that is that the success of all of these operations is on their editorial independence.
3804 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. That goes to the point of editorial independence.
3805 What we are talking about is what will be the effect of convergence where instead of -- again to put it simplistically because we can't -- to put the point across is: Are you going to have 10 independent journalists in one place rather than 10 in one place and 10 in the other and the effect of that at the end of the day? That is diversity as opposed to editorial independence.
3806 Is the more insidious melding -- that is your word -- of melding of the infrastructure and of the resources, human and otherwise, to get content out into different portals. Not only does this speak to diversity, but it also speaks, as far as we are concerned, possibly to quality.
3807 When you speak of melding and of the need to have convergence, is the potential I discussed with CTV yesterday, which their argument is it is not as important when it is not a local newspaper, of ending with choices of information that is more easily dealt with in various formats, repurposed in a cost-saving manner and an incentive to have repurposed information and choices made not with regard to whether or not it will discharge your broadcasting responsibility, but whether it will be financially easier because it will cost less to diffuse it over the various formats.
3808 Also, I don't know what your gentlemen's answer is to the question of whether one could confuse the different platforms -- diversity of platforms with diversity if they all have the same output.
3809 MR. MacDONALD: I think it is a question of degrees, Commissioner Wylie. We are not melding the editorial infrastructure.
3810 The word "convergence" is probably a better term to apply to the ownership structure and the acquisition process, and so on.
3811 Editorially I think a better term is "managed cooperation".
3812 We have seen from the American experience -- I toured last year with the American Press Institute some of the converged media facilities in the States, and really they found what we are telling you here today, and that is that the benefits of this are in the strategic collaboration and the dangers are in trying to completely meld the operations and have a homogenous output.
3813 It is managed cooperation. That is the best way to describe it.
3814 You mentioned cost savings. This is, not on the editorial side at least, about --
3815 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You mentioned cost savings.
3816 MR. MacDONALD: I did?
3817 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: In your presentation.
3818 MR. MacDONALD: Oh, I'm sorry. All right.
3819 On the editorial side, though, if I may, if there are synergies there it is really on the revenue side. If there is cross-platform work, it is to improve the product, not replace work; or it is to allow reporters to cover more stories and bring added product to the table.
3820 But it is managed cooperation and I think there is a difference between that and the suggestion that the newsrooms would be melded. I think then there would be a danger to diversity. I don't think that danger exists under the system that -- the only system that we believe can work in terms of convergence model.
3821 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: We are getting closer now to talking about that it is not a good idea to merge them or meld them.
3822 MR. MacDONALD: Editorially we have said all along --
3823 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But you don't --
3824 MR. MacDONALD: -- that they have to be separate streams in terms of editorial management.
3825 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: At the top, but not below that where the actual information is gathered and projects and research is prepared.
3826 MR. MacDONALD: There is some shared research that can be done as well, the basic kind of research that is just facts and figures, if someone has that information. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
3827 But in terms of having a completely merged newsroom and trying to produce one product for both platforms, that is just -- that would be, as we mentioned earlier, suicide.
3828 MR. ASPER: Commissioner Wylie, could I just clarify?
3829 We do believe there are some costs savings here. Let me try to explain where they accrue.
3830 First of all, an early example is that Global is now able to provide newspapers with pictures where they didn't have them at a lesser cost than they might otherwise have perceived or paid for them simply by taking the cameras and creating a still picture and sending it down a dataline somewhere.
3831 The other way we look at cost savings is on a per-unit basis: What does it cost to gather news? If we can get more news for the same or only a marginally increased cost of gathering -- take Peter Kent's example of how he got the story in Halifax or Moncton from Summerside. We view that as a cost saving.
3832 One example made of how different content gets created from similar infrastructures -- and it is very diverse content.
3833 I think yesterday you got into some discussion about food and I think -- yes, just to refer to Commissioner Cardozo's Tim Hortons cup from yesterday. Tim Hortons and Wendy's are located in the same -- I don't know if it's Wendy's or whatever, but they have -- is it Wendy's? -- in the same location. They have two different cooks, they have the same kitchen, but they produce a very different and very unmixed product.
3834 That analogy may not flow entirely, but I think it is very indicative of the way we see this kind of approach evolving.
3835 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It works better when you get closer to lunch and you are more hungry.
3836 MR. ASPER: Maybe I just have it on my mind already.
--- Laughter / Rires
3837 MR. DESBARATS: Commissioner Wylie, do you mind if I inject myself into the discussion for a moment?
3838 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: No, as long as we don't get Journalism 101.
3839 MR. DESBARATS: No.
--- Laughter / Rires
3840 MR. DESBARATS: Well, you have constitutional law now and journalism.
3841 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: A bit heavy.
3842 MR. DESBARATS: Journalism 101 is relatively simple compared to the kind of situations that we are trying to deal with right now.
3843 I think the reasons why even some of the people on this side of the table and yourselves are having so much difficulty is that these systems are in their infancy still. Even the people who are running them, like Ken, don't really know what their potential is and don't know exactly how they are going to work it out in practice from your position.
3844 It is extremely difficult to try to actually write rules, in a sense, or create mechanisms to deal with a system that is still so young and that is changing so rapidly.
3845 In fact, some of the more recent developments would indicate, in the United States, that convergence and synergy are much harder to achieve in practice than to talk about in principle.
3846 I think it is the New York Times -- I'm not positive about that, but I read something on the web just a week or so ago that the New York Times had in fact deconverged, to a certain extent, its newspaper operations and its website operations.
3847 I was at a panel discussion at Western University a month or two ago on developments in the industry. All the panellists were former students of mine.
3848 The youngest panellist was in charge of the Toronto Star's website. I was very interested when he explained that although originally it was thought that perhaps the website might just be a spinoff from the Toronto Star and use the same kind of material, that in fact he now had 12 journalists working on the website because they had discovered that it couldn't operate as a spinoff operation at all.
3849 He attended the editorial meeting every morning of the Toronto Star, but he said they were talking about the paper that they were going to put out tomorrow, and by tomorrow he already had to have most of those stories on his website, and he had to gather them with his own staff in fact.
3850 So I think that there are synergies sometimes and there are benefits of convergence, but I don't think it means, as you seem to be indicating, that you can sort of meld together your Internet, television and newspaper staffs into one kind of unit and thereby get two or three times the amount of work out of the same number of people because I just don't think in practice it's going to work that way.
3851 But I sympathize with your problem right now because you are trying to create a system of rules for a system that in practice is still in the very early, early stages of development.
3852 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: The melding is again CanWest's own words, the melding, as I read earlier:
"... of high-quality news information and entertainment content of our print, television holdings".
3853 Radio. I'm a bit curious about radio. Is there something I don't know about radio assets of CanWest?
3854 MR. ASPER: Well, we do have radio in New Zealand, number one, where they do cooperate with the television in a different way, but I have always signalled that CanWest's interest someday being in radio and I stand by that -- in Canada, sorry.
3855 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And the successful Internet portals and newspaper sites, that is what is put forward to us under the title "Corporate Vision", and you may be right, Mr. Desbarats, that Chairman Colville's scepticism about the synergies to be derived from convergence may be our best assurance, but Chairman Colville has been wrong before, hasn't he?
3856 THE CHAIRPERSON: Once or twice.
--- Laughter / Rires
3857 MR. ASPER: But not on constitutional matters.
3858 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I would hope not.
3859 THE CHAIRPERSON: I differ to my lawyer.
3860 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And we are, of course, looking, Mr. Desbarats, as the potential -- is there something looking us in the face that needs for us to act? Some intervenors expressed that view, some journalists expressed that view, and we have responded to it, rightly or wrongly, hopefully constitutionally, in the Montreal situation or circumstances.
3861 Let's discuss --
3862 MR. DESBARATS: If I could just --
3863 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes?
3864 MR. DESBARATS: I don't want to keep on interrupting, but it seems to me when you are talking in that vein I experience a severe sense of déjà vu because in many ways it resembles the situation that we were faced with in the newspaper world.
3865 When I worked on the staff of the Royal Commission on Newspapers in 1980-81, we were faced whatnot with cross-ownership on a massive scale, but we were faced with consolidation of newspaper properties and the concern about the amount of editorial influence that could be exhorted through that consolidation.
3866 I would be quite happy to talk about that briefly, but I won't go into it unless you think it might be useful.
3867 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You will recall also, Mr. Desbarats, that later on, following another commission, there was actually a directive from the government forbidding us from giving licences where there were certain situations of cross-media ownership which was eventually vacated after, some of us will remember, long hearings across the country.
3868 So the idea of the negative impact on broadcasting of cross-media ownership is not new, and it is -- I certainly have no intention, especially after the constitutional flag has been raised to discuss whether it's a good idea to have consolidation or not among newspapers, but it's certainly not new to keep an eye on cross-media newspapers-television.
3869 MR. DESBARATS: No, but at that time, Commissioner Wylie, we were dealing with the question of regulation and editorial independence and in that sense I think there was a parallel.
3870 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Commissioner Wylie, I'm glad you raised that period of 1982 to 1985 when the directive was in place, and I would --
3871 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It was much later --
3872 MR. GOLDSTEIN: It followed the Kent Commission and it --
3873 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I'm older than I thought.
--- Laughter / Rires
3874 MR. GOLDSTEIN: And it was introduced in 1982 --
3875 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Go ahead, you are right, you are right.
3876 MR. GOLDSTEIN: -- and it was vacated in 1985.
3877 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You are right!
--- Laughter / Rires
3878 MR. ASPER: You got the sale, leave the room.
--- Laughter / Rires
3879 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I'm going to just treasure that moment for a minute.
3880 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are one step ahead of me.
--- Laughter / Rires
3881 MR. GOLDSTEIN: In that period, the Commission considered two major newspaper-television cases. One was the New Brunswick Broadcasting case when it felt that there was an issue, and one was London, Ontario, where the London Free Press, CFPL and two radio stations were held by the same owner, and the Commission concluded that the situation in London, Ontario had lots of diversity and lots of multiplicity.
3882 The actual quote from the decision is in my report that's appended to that intervention response, and I would just point out that in the Vancouver situation, which you have pointed to, the CanWest holdings in television have a lower share than the London Free Press holding in television had in London at the time when you concluded there was diversity and the CanWest holdings in newspapers have a lower share in relation to the number of households than the situation in London. At the time you concluded there was lots of diversity and lots of multiplicity.
3883 So if we use the standard that flows from the Commission in 1984, in that decision when that Order in Council was in effect, the bar has been clearly passed in terms of lots of diversity.
3884 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: CanWest's position on safeguards is that:
"They are necessary, they are not appropriate and they are not in the public interest in this context".
3885 I take that from page 7 of your February 6th letter and:
"They are unnecessary and ill-advised".
3886 At page 3. And at page 4:
"They are not required at this time".
3887 And we can add to that they may not be constitutional as of this morning. What do you mean "at this time" and "in this context"?
3888 MR. ASPER: I think there are a couple of things. First of all, if the words -- I'm sure you are reading accurately, but I would ask you to consider it.
3889 I think what we said, or what we meant there, is that additional safeguards are not necessary because we do think there are some that exist, as I said, both commercially, structurally within the editorial separation and through the press councils and the broadcast standard councils and as well through the CAB although we have something to say on that about how that could be enhanced. So I think really that is what we were saying and we are willing to offer some additional safeguards today.
3890 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Okay. We will get to that.
3891 Before we do, I would like to ask you to elaborate on one of the reasons you give for not being worried even about the Vancouver-Victoria situation, and I guess Regina-Saskatoon is in the same position. You say in your supplementary brief at page 13 that even when there is no local competition, there are alternatives in national newspapers and you also advance at page 6 of the February 6th letter the importance of the Internet as an alternative.
3892 I quote you here in saying that:
"The advent and widespread use of the Internet has virtually guaranteed diversity of editorial opinion". (As read)
3893 Considering the actual penetration of homes with the Internet, and the fact that many of its portals are spin-offs of existing media voices, how practical is it to rely on the advent of the Internet to guarantee editorial diversity?
3894 MR. ASPER: I guess it's not the only arsenal in the diversity argument. I think that we just pointed out the Internet as one of the expanding media that, given all of the other activities that are going on, licensing of more radio stations, 400 new digital services licences, probably 50 new television services coming into two million Canadian homes in the fall, and that number obviously growing at a very rapid pace -- the number of homes penetrated.
3895 I think it's just one of a number of factors that are at play that has created a society which is, as Ken Goldstein aptly said, the most diverse in the world and the most diverse it has ever been in terms of editorial voices.
3896 I think just to respond to something I left open from your last question is that I do remind the Commission, and you know very well, that you do have the right to call us back here one year, two years, five years from now -- anytime you would like -- if you believe some of these yet unknowns are coming to fruition or the concerns are coming to fruition, and our only point today is our convergence strategy is much more skewed toward the sales issues we talked about yesterday and the cross-promotion issues that we talked about yesterday.
3897 The reason I called the journalism side of it and the content side of it a liquid is because we just don't know where it's going to settle and what is going to happen. We do know that if we cross-promote a program and it creates a higher rating because there was an ad in the National Post promoting a blue murder, that is scientifically something that will help our bottom line and help us reinvest in programming.
3898 But on the journalism side, I think the Ken MacDonalds, the Peter Kents of the world -- Russell Mills, who is here today from the Ottawa Citizen -- are all just working it out and they are just having meetings and seeing how they can improve their product.
3899 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And you will understand, Mr. Asper, of course, that we are looking at are there possibilities that there are inevitable -- not inevitable but potential consequences of this which are difficult to address once they have occurred.
3900 So the exercise is more to say before it happens considering the circumstances we have before us, do we have a regulatory duty to act, to put in place something that will forestall the negative consequences?
3901 Interestingly, I am looking at your partnership agreement between Global and the National Post holdings, and a numbered Nova Scotia company -- and I am using the abridged version, don't worry. But at 4.18, you seem to have found it necessary to provide yourself a safeguard against your 15 per cent partner by:
"Requiring advance notice of any proposed editorial policies or changes to existing editorial policies of the partnership or any editorial position which could reasonably be viewed as embarrassing, damaging or adverse in the interest of CanWest or affiliates..."
3902 I'm skipping a few lines to:
"In that case, the partnership shall afford CanWest the opportunity to submit for publication, and the partnership shall publish a column, opinion piece or essay under the byline of the author in the op-ed or editorial pages of such other prominent location as CanWest shall reasonably request, provided such material is not defamatory". (As read)
3903 Is it your belief that you would not need such a safeguard if you owned Canada Post 100 per cent -- National Post, excuse me.
3904 MR. ASPER: Yes, it is.
3905 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Canada Post would be certainly on Rogers --
--- Laughter / Rires
3906 MR. ASPER: And it's certainly not part of our convergence strategy.
--- Laughter / Rires
3907 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: If you owned the National Post 100 per cent, would you need the safeguard?
3908 MR. ASPER: No.
3909 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You would have a partnership agreement, of course, but --
3910 MR. ASPER: The reason that clause is in there is because we believe in three principles: balance, fairness, diversity of opinion within each medium and, of course, as you know, the Broadcast Act requires such from the television stations. There is no statute governing print, of course, other than the safeguard of the press councils.
3911 Our concern in that discussion was that the National Post, with all due respect to its owner, would not meet those principles and we would be embarrassed by that. It was not mean to address an issue where an article about CanWest was appearing, that CanWest is doing something wrong, or whatever. It was about protecting those principles which we publicly stated.
3912 We are not sure if they are necessarily always evident in the National Post, and it is very public that we have differed in opinion with the views of the National Post and the style in which it has approached certain issues.
3913 So the clause is there to protect the principles in which CanWest believes. If they are not adhered to, we find that embarrassing, and therefore we wanted the opportunity to redress the situation.
3914 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Is this clause an acknowledgement that an editorial policy position can be taken by an owner?
3915 Or is it because if you owned it 100 per cent, anything embarrassing, damaging or adverse to the interests of CanWest or its affiliates would either not appear in the newspaper or you would have an inherent right, not one that would be contractually created, to respond, as the owner?
3916 MR. ASPER: Two things. Number one, if we owned it 100 per cent or had a majority interest, we would have no fear that balance, diversity and fairness would not be served. Therefore, we would not need that clause.
3917 The right of the owner to express his or her opinion is something we hold very dear and we believe strongly in. It is ironic, in fact, that a legislator like Joe Clark would suggest that everybody but the owner has the right to express their opinion in the newspaper or a medium. We find that quite offensive, to be quite honest.
3918 It is a tradition steeped in history, from the Salzberger decree that the New York Times would be a social-liberal newspaper, to the Atkinson trust which governs The Toronto Star and its editorial positions, to the various other journalistic approaches that entities like the CBC take, whether by decree or by happenstance.
3919 We certainly stand very strongly by the premise that the owner has as much a right as any other Canadian to put their views in the newspaper and all within the confines of balance.
3920 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It is not a sign that you entered into a partnership with less than perfect journalists.
3921 MR. ASPER: No, it is not a question of individual journalists.
3922 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I thought I heard you say a newspaper can indeed give the impression that it could -- you say that this clause is to protect good journalism, and I am reading again: something that is viewed as embarrassing, damaging or adverse to the interests of CanWest or its affiliates.
3923 Are you saying CanWest's belief in better journalism than The National Post can offer?
3924 MR. ASPER: Number one --
3925 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Or your own interests, such as if you are taken to task for anything here at this hearing, may not be a good idea if they spend three days criticizing CanWest's performance. It would be better if they did that about Globemedia.
3926 MR. ASPER: First of all, in our view The National Post is a high-quality excellent publication; otherwise, we would not have invested in it and committed to an valuation of The National Post, which is quite high.
3927 We are talking here a little bit, I think, about the editorial opinion as opposed to the news component. So the 98 per cent of the newspaper that is news and news reporting, we think, is an excellent product.
3928 It was not with a view to any criticism of The National Post or its journalists, in particular its editorial board, that that clause was put in there. The clause was put in the agreement to protect against any future concerns we may have.
3929 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: That is what we are trying to do, to use this wisdom ourselves by getting safeguards, presumably, for the whole public.
3930 MR. ASPER: I understand that, but I want to clarify one thing which I said, and which I will repeat. The National Post can print whatever it wants about CanWest and anything else, as long as it covers those subjects with a view to balance.
3931 It is free to have its own opinion, and we were never attempting to stifle opinion. It comes back again to those journalistic principles that I have mentioned.
3932 I am not sure how you see that clause in relation to the discussion here going forward.
3933 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I just wanted you to tell us if there was a relationship, or if not. And you have answered.
3934 MR. ASPER: Okay.
3935 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Before we go to safeguards, there is one more question I would like to ask you.
3936 At page 5 of your 6th of February letter you talk about currently being in the process of -- and I quote:
"...designing a forum for national commentaries to be incorporated into our new national news and current affairs programming to be launched this fall, which will include provision for feedback and contrary viewpoints." (As read)
3937 I am wondering where CanWest is at with that project.
3938 MR. NOBLE: Commissioner, that is in our news efforts, and I will ask Ken MacDonald to respond.
3939 MR. MacDONALD: Thank you, Gerry.
3940 Commissioner, that comment was in answer to a question of what will CanWest or Global do to ensure that there is a wide range of opinions and comments and views expressed on the television network.
3941 What we pointed out there is that as part of our public affairs program which is going to air on a weekly basis, there will be a commentary segment, and clearly labelled as such.
3942 The mandate of that segment will be to seek out voices other than those usual spokespeople on various issues, and so on, and the politicians, and to try to present a wide range of commentaries from across the country and from the regions, various viewpoints. It may be on a political issue of the day; it may be on the issue that we are discussing right now.
3943 That was going to be a proactive move that we were going to take and promote as part of that program, to ensure that there was a wide range of voices heard. That would be done on the television side independent of the newspaper operation, although there may be a newspaper columnist or personality that shows up there from time to time.
3944 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Now to discuss safeguards. We have already imposed restrictions on the number of board members from the newspaper side -- and I am talking about a board here in the classical sense of the board of a company -- originally more restrictive with Québecor and TQS, and when we renewed we lowered the bar some. But still, my recollection is that 40 per cent only can be common.
3945 That is one issue we have dealt with.
3946 You have been given a copy of the Code of Conduct as well that is applicable to Québecor?
3947 MR. ASPER: Yes, we have seen it.
3948 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And you are familiar with the safeguards that are in there.
3949 They are combined, of course, with a watchdog committee which can entertain complaints in a manner which is described under an independent committee of complaints related to whether the code is adhered to.
3950 These are basically the mechanisms that we have used to date.
3951 You have offered some, which I referred to before, and I heard you say that you wanted to discuss the idea of safeguards further. So I will let you do that.
3952 You have had the benefit of the conversation yesterday. Then I will ask you why you would not accept the safeguards that are imbedded in this Code of Conduct.
3953 MR. ASPER: If I can take your questions in order, the safeguards we are prepared to offer, in addition to the ones we have referred to that we believe exist --
3954 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Perhaps I can add to that list being a little more specific about what those are in practical terms.
3955 Suppose one had to write them down, what is it that you would not do when you say that you will keep separate editorial teams for TV and print, separate senior management and editorial personnel?
3956 How would one draft that if it were to be written? How would that be imbedded in something that one can check whether it is actually occurring?
3957 So more details on your safeguards and why not the ones that are imbedded in the Code of Conduct and the complaints mechanism.
3958 MR. ASPER: I think the principle of editorial separation applies to editorial boards. There currently is no editorial board for television, but there is of course for every newspaper. We will ensure that there are no television personnel on those editorial boards.
3959 We will ensure separate news editor positions in the various print and television assets.
3960 The Canadian Broadcast Standard Council administers the Code of Ethics which was designed by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. The CAB has agreed, at our instance I believe and at the instance of others, to launch a review of that code and apply it to cross-media issues.
3961 We will agree to file within a period of time -- shortly, perhaps, you could tell me what is a reasonable period of time to do so -- with the Commission that new code of ethics to which we will subscribe.
3962 We will launch a $1 million per annum public service announcement campaign making Canadians aware of the Press Council's and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council's codes of ethics and their existence and their availability, and the complaint mechanism that exists surrounding those.
3963 Finally, we will report to the Commission all the complaints that we receive or are aware of on a yearly basis so that you can assess this throughout the licence term and decide whether the concerns that exist are in fact manifesting themselves in a way that is against the public interest.
3964 Charlotte, have I left anything out?
3965 With respect to the Québecor code, I guess the way I would summarize it is I think Canadians will be not well served by, in particular, forbidding print and television journalists from speaking to each other in the manner described in the code.
3966 I rest and stand on the statement that we don't agree that the code should apply to the English market, if it should apply at all.
3967 The issue is not should we have a code in Quebec today. The issue is should it apply to CanWest in the English market.
3968 We believe, for the reasons we have presented, that the existence of that code is not necessary.
3969 I think the negative issues or concerns that it is designed to protect are somewhat unproven to exist, yet the benefits of the news organizations working together to enhance the programming and the product they offer Canadians is negated by that code.
3970 We feel that that, on balance, is something that is not in the interest of Canadians and certainly not applicable to the English-speaking market.
3971 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Would you agree to the need for different mechanisms in markets such as Vancouver, Victoria or even Regina and Saskatoon where there is no alternative daily newspaper?
3972 Or is your position the same whether it is in Toronto or in Vancouver and Victoria?
3973 MR. ASPER: I think the mechanisms are equally present in all of these markets.
3974 We believe it is a matter of degree, and we believe that although there may be somewhat more apparent concentration in Vancouver than in Toronto, for example, we believe that the combined share or number of assets, the number of properties in any given market, rests well below the bar of what might be considered dominant in any of those markets.
3975 If the bar is a unit of five out of ten on a scale, we believe we might be three in Vancouver and one in Toronto or two in Toronto, but it's a matter of degree and, therefore, it's a matter of no different concern in absolute terms than across the different markets.
3976 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Do you have any comment about the restriction of the board members from one media sitting on the board -- from the print media sitting on the board of the broadcast media?
3977 MR. ASPER: In the CanWest structure, there is no board of Global Television. There is a Chief Executive Officer, to my immediate left. There is a Chief Executive Officer of the Southam Publication Group and there are, of course, publishers and station general managers that work in those groups.
3978 The only Board of Directors formally that exists within the company is the CanWest parent company board.
3979 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And in that case, in the case of TQS and Québecor there was the situation of a restriction on former or current members of the Québec board also sitting on the board of the actual broadcast company. If that were to exist, would you be prepared that there not be such common -- more than in this case I think it's 40 per cent I believe. In other words, 60 per cent are completely different.
3980 MR. ASPER: So if we were to set up boards, is that your question?
3981 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But even now on the board that CanWest Broadcasting eventually answers to, there can be or there probably are some members that are from the newspaper of your board?
3982 MR. ASPER: I guess just to reiterate, there only exists one formal Board of Directors within the company.
3983 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And on that Board of Directors of the broadcasting -- of the company that eventually holds or controls the broadcasting undertaking, would there be some board members who come from the print?
3984 MR. ASPER: Yes. In that sense, yes. Conrad Black and David Radler would be --
3985 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And would you be prepared in that case of former members, let's say, of the Southam board?
3986 MR. ASPER: Commissioner, I'm not --
3987 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: The situation is different. So there would be some from the National Post who sit on the board.
3988 MR. ASPER: I'm not sure what you mean when you say from the National Post because Conrad Black is a member of the CanWest board by virtue of a negotiated position due to his shareholding.
3989 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: No, but the goal is to try to not have the board that controls the broadcasting media and have employees or members or officers of the one sitting on the other to keep them separate.
3990 MR. ASPER: Well, it is a corporate --
3991 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: At the corporate level.
3992 MR. ASPER: The principal. We tend not to have management on our Board of Directors other than myself.
3993 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So that would not be something that --
3994 MR. ASPER: The CEO of the company.
3995 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- is required in this case.
3996 MR. ASPER: It's unlikely to happen.
3997 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It is to have that separation of the corporate level as well as at the managerial level.
3998 Of those safeguards that you put forward, of course the whole idea of having a code under the CBSC has its own complications when one is dealing with a particular situation. It may well be that the Commission will find that -- will be impressed by the arguments made that not every situation is the same, that it should be addressed according to its own circumstances.
3999 What you are proposing here is an overall applicable -- it would be a generally applicable code of ethics managed through the CBSC and with the suspentive condition of licence, et cetera, rather than something that you would hold yourself to and that we would hold yourself to.
4000 MR. ASPER: Yes.
4001 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So that you would have the same requirements after telling me that English Canada and French Canada are different and CTV telling me that they only own a national newspaper and you own local ones. We would all have a board that would address the same problems and have the same level of restriction.
4002 MR. ASPER: Charlotte, do you want to -- I mean intuitively yes.
4003 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: What we have been hearing is situations are different. Montreal is a different situation from Canada. If I have a national newspaper, it's different, but now we are looking at possibly enforcing a code that is identical for everybody through the same organism as opposed to having a code that addresses a situation and is monitored by that licensee.
4004 MS BELL: The code of ethics that exists at this time applies to also a variety of groups. They are structured differently and in a number of different situations, so the discussions that we had with the CAB are very preliminary. They have agreed that we should or that we would undertake a revision of the code and we can do that in a number of ways.
4005 You could either amend the code and just incorporate a provision that would apply to any situation where there is cross-media ownership. Perhaps that's not the best way to go. Perhaps there's an addendum to the code that applies to groups who have cross-media ownership or again, you know, we might decide at the end of the day that it should be amended in a different manner to account for the different circumstances between the different players.
4006 In any event, they have agreed that they would undertake that revision with us.
4007 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: The point I am making is the codes that exist now are against sexual stereotyping. Hopefully that's the same from coast to coast. Violence is also the same from coast to coast. You can talk about community standards, but here we are talking about very particular situations and are different.
4008 I would have thought that if you were prepared to abide by a code you would have preferred your own because you may find out that in the end the only code that the Commission will agree to is the one that was imposed on Québecor because the Commission has to then agree to a CAB code to follow that route because it is basically a code that we have approved as meeting the concerns we have.
4009 I'm not quite sure I understand the complications of doing it that way as opposed to arguing this is what's required in our circumstances, that's what we will abide by and we will have our own monitoring committee to answer questions as to whether we abide by it or not.
4010 MR. ASPER: Commissioner, I think I understand better now your point. I think we provided the -- we are talking about the kind of principles we put forward and things to which we would subscribe.
4011 It would probably be more appropriate to have a code that applies specifically to CanWest along the lines we have offered, given that there are different markets. What we were just simply trying to say is that, you know, we do operate, as you point out, under several different codes.
4012 In general terms, we could live with a CAB over-riding code. Remember that some of the companies change in their makeup and the properties that comprise the companies or are involved in the properties. What we were concerned about when we were talking about the thing that applies specifically to CanWest was what if CanWest changed its profile.
4013 I don't suggest we are going to sell newspapers, but for example, if we were not in the newspaper business any more --
4014 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, in that case -- I think that you are making my point. In that case if it is a condition of licence that you abide by a code that you have drafted and to our satisfaction and your circumstances change, then you can come forward and have it amended. It's your code and it addresses your circumstances at the time and then it can be changed over time.
4015 Of course, our next question is these safeguards or whichever -- I guess the answer to the question would you accept the safeguards of the Québecor code as conditions of licence, your answer would be?
4016 MR. ASPER: No.
4017 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: In other words, you will not accept that. You have to have the journalists in separate locations or that they can't use the same computer systems, equipment and share information.
4018 MR. ASPER: No. We would have difficulty accepting that. I think --
4019 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Difficulty or you just wouldn't accept it.
4020 MR. ASPER: We wouldn't accept it.
4021 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Because there aren't that -- that's basically what it is, keep your journalists apart, let them each do their own job, then we have a better chance and at the end we will have more stories rather than less. It may not be as enriched but that's a price you pay for diversity and that's where we find the balance.
4022 You would be prepared to draft a code that would be acceptable to you and then have it required as a condition of licence.
4023 MR. ASPER: Yes, we would.
4024 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And acceptable to us, of course.
4025 MR. ASPER: Yes, most certainly.
4026 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: There will be another phase to this hearing next week. We may hear further from you then.
4027 I don't know if my colleagues have further questions.
4028 Thank you.
4029 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Vice-Chair Wylie.
4030 Commissioner Cardozo.
4031 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you. This discussion has been very helpful to our understanding.
4032 I just wanted to explore one issue further. It's the issue that Mr. Macdonald talked about in terms of diversity of voices for the public. You talked about building in a form of national commentary into your new news show.
4033 I wonder whether one of the important issues isn't not just the diversity or the separation of news people in covering a story such as bullying or Island potatoes. The public may not care too much, and I am just wondering these things out loud, as to who made the decisions when the stories are covered, when and if and all that type of stuff.
4034 The issue is more how it's covered in terms of bias. I wouldn't use an example such as bullying or Island potatoes because I think public opinion is one side where I guess bullying and before the selling of Island potatoes --
4035 If you took a different kind of issue like the Summit of the Americas or the Robert Latimer case or this issue of media consolidation, is there really an avenue for diversity of opinion to be addressed?
4036 If an Asper, if I can say this, speaks on a certain issue, to the journalists in either operation, or if they think an Asper has a view on an issue, does a journalist in either operation approach the issue with a bit of trepidation?
4037 I know journalists are fearless and fearlessly independent and all that, but you have got cutbacks perhaps coming as a result of consolidation. You have got people who are on the brink of perhaps promotions. Sometimes those considerations might come in.
4038 MR. MacDONALD: I think the short answer is no and hopefully not. Every journalist I know is dedicated to telling the story, telling the truth and giving balance. Columnists have the discretionary ability to express a viewpoint by virtue of how they are portrayed, how they are labelled, how they are positioned.
4039 In terms of the journalists, no. I mean I can tell you that as a journalist with this company and a former political journalist with this company, I have done stories that maybe did rattle the folks in Winnipeg, but I didn't hear about it, nor would I expect to. I wouldn't expect anyone to say to me "You know what? You should take this tack on that political story as a journalist".
4040 I think all journalists are the same. As a matter of fact, I think there is almost a backlash if there is even any hint or suggestion of that kind of influence. A journalist working on a news story -- I'm distinguishing between that and a columnist -- you know, that's in the blood. That's part of the creature that we are. I think the answer to that is no.
4041 Taking your earlier point, not every story lends itself to convergence. You know there may be political stories that don't, there may be stories where it doesn't make sense to work in a converged way. As you correctly point out, in these kinds of projects you are not necessarily coming with a bias. Hopefully you are not on these projects if you are a true journalist. You may have some personal biases but you strive to keep those out. The desire is to get as many voices, as many views as you can and tell what you see in the story.
4042 MR. ASPER: If I could just --
4043 MR. MacDONALD: Go ahead.
4044 MR. NOBLE: Commissioner Cardozo, if I can relate the speech that -- this is called the Chief Executive Speech -- that I got from Izzy Asper when he sent me to New Zealand. And it was when he got around to -- he talked about programming sales and all the rest of it and then he concentrated on news.
4045 And he said, "The one thing that this company will always adhere to in its news presentation is fairness, balance and many voices." Use many voices. The term now is diversity of voices. And he says, "No matter what the story, no matter what your reporters do, they have to understand this clearly." And that is what I operated under in New Zealand and Australia and that is what we are operating under here in Australia.
4046 So the answer to your question is no, they will not -- when a reporter has a story and if it is a story that deals with CanWest or an issue that they think the owners may not like, they will deal with it in the proper journalist way with fairness and balance and making sure that they get the proper opinion. And that is something that our newsrooms follow and they follow it religiously and I, through Ken, make sure that this is the case.
4047 Leonard wants to comment.
4048 MR. ASPER: Commissioner, if there is one example of the fierce independence of the journalists within the CanWest group it is the David Asper episode as it is now known. And I must make it clear that David Asper wrote a letter because he didn't feel that there was balance, not to defend the Prime Minister as our critics like the Sun chain alleged. It was to defend against the fact that there had been hundreds of articles across all media and television stories taking one view of the situation without possibly examining that there could be another view of the situation.
4049 And that was the purpose of his writing and we would do it again if we saw imbalance or such a gross imbalance as we perceived there to be.
4050 The response to David Asper's article from the Southam newspapers and the National Post, as you know, I think, was overwhelming criticism of David Asper by the journalists who work for David Asper and his family.
4051 So I think there is -- I come back to the point, I think the concerns about convergence and ownership consolidation are theoretical while the benefits of convergence are demonstrable and I think that example is the most stark that CanWest is not going to try to stifle or chill the journalist and that freedom of expression is alive and well within the CanWest system.
4052 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I want to make clear I'm not -- I don't want to personalize the issue. I used the Aspers because you just happen to be the family that owns the operation. It could be whatever person or group that owns. If they are perceived to have any opinion, do the journalists who come under them approach certain issues with trepidation or not, was my question. But I think you have given me the answer to that.
4053 But let me take the issue of bias a bit more clearly and say you have got one reporter, journalist who covers the Latimer case taking one sort of -- who appears to take one position, one side or the other, and covers it for television and the newspaper.
4054 What are the avenues for the public -- members of the public who have the other viewpoint and who feel that because you have this one journalist who now covers both and regardless of how unbiased they may think they are the public may perceive them to have used certain adjectives, certain pictorials that give one side or the other the benefit?
4055 THE CHAIRPERSON: Before you answer, at the risk of being seen to be restricting Commissioner Cardozo's editorial freedom, and I don't mean to do that or stop the questioning, we have been at this for almost all of the morning and I suspect there are some that might want a nature break at this point in time. And I suspect given the nature of the question, that the answer may be longer than just a minute or two and I know counsel have a couple of questions that they may want to put.
4056 So I am going to ask you to hold that thought and we will take our rather late mid-morning break and finish up with the questioning on this panel.
4057 MR. ASPER: Commissioner, I assume a 15 minute break?
4058 THE CHAIRPERSON: Twenty minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 1120 / Suspension à 1120
--- Upon resuming at 1140 / Reprise à 1140
4059 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back to our proceeding. We will return to the last few questions on the issue of cross-media ownership and then we will have just a few follow-up questions to clarify a few of the other issues that we have raised. There will be one or two questions from Commission counsel and then that will conclude the questioning for this panel.
4060 So return to Commissioner Cardozo.
4061 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thanks, Mr. Chair.
4062 Mr. MacDonald, what I wanted to get from you and I would be interested to hear from Mr. Desbarats as well if he has got thoughts on this, if you have got -- I was using the Latimer case as an example where people have very clearly -- there are at least two very clearly divided opinions on that.
4063 If you had the one journalist who covered the issue for the two media, the print and the broadcast, and the other side or either side felt they didn't get a fair shake, how can people get their views out there and is that something we have to be concerned about in this converged world that as you might have less journalists covering some tough issues, are less voices going to get heard?
4064 MR. MacDONALD: Commissioner, the Latimer example may not be the best one. A story of that magnitude you would certainly find, I would think, a TV and a print reporter at that story just simply because of the magnitude of that story.
4065 But in any event, at the end of the day, there is the gathering of facts, the gathering of tape and the actual monitoring of the event and gathering of the information. But then you have the writing processing, editing process and presentation process and in all cases that process is distinctively different on the newspaper side and on the TV side.
4066 In other words, on the TV side there are producers and editors who are looking at the product and determining, you know, looking at a script and determining whether it is balanced, whether it is fair, whether it is reflective, whether it is newsworthy. You know you may have a story that is newsworthy for the newspaper and not for television.
4067 But using the Latimer example and here is an example of how convergence could work very well. You would have a reporter there covering it for TV and a reporter for print and the TV reporter may do the straight up here is what happened today story, here is the emotion, here is who said what on either side of the issue. But in the case of the Post's Christie Blachford -- the columnist Christie Blachford has done some interesting side bar stories on that particular issue, looking at the human side and not at the story in-chief for the events of the day.
4068 It might be a nice supplement on the TV side to say here is what happened today. Here is the story, here is how our journalists saw it. But, you know, columnist Christie Blachford who has been living and breathing this thing for a long time and who has been spending time with the family or whatever, has some other interesting insights to bring to bear for our TV viewers. And we are going to talk to her and we will control the editorial content of that interview but we may be able to bring another dimension to the story and again more balance and more perspective for the viewers.
4069 And if I may, just one more quick example, I think that is an indication of how some of this collaboration or as I said earlier, management cooperation can work, not to the detriment of diversity of voices and views, there is now in place nationally a pool system for international travel with the Prime Minister. I was one of the architects of that when I was in Ottawa along with colleagues from the other networks.
4070 So when the Prime Minister travels abroad, generally speaking, the networks are pooling camera resources. In other words, not each network is sending a camera, a full camera crew. Pooling a logistics producer who is overseeing the gathering of the news tape and then sending their own individual journalist.
4071 These international trips are exceedingly expensive. It seems with each successive Prime Minister the desire to travel gets greater and greater, and this enables us to ensure that all agencies or as many agencies as possible have access to this material, either through the pool arrangement or by -- as we say, we send our own journalist but we don't -- not each network has to send a crew and it rotates by network who sends the crew and who sends the producers.
4072 But at the end of the day the product that is beamed back via satellite to the individual news rooms is a distinctively different product. Because there is a reporter there who is putting his or her own perspective on the story as he or she saw it editorially.
4073 And you may get a story coming back, even though there was a shared crew and a shared producer, you may get a story coming back from CTV that says the Prime Minister performed particularly well at the G7 today. You may get a CBC story that says the Prime Minister had great trouble at the G7 today. And there may be in fact a Global story that focuses on some other element of the summit that day that is deemed newsworthy by our journalist on the scene.
4074 But there is a collaboration there by the networks in terms of resources and there is not a diminution of diversity because the pictures that everyone is going to get are basically the same at these events anyway.
4075 So that is just -- it is not completely analogous but in some ways it is that there are ways to have these collaborative efforts without risking the diversity of voices.
4076 MR. DESBARATS: Commissioner Cardozo, just a slightly different tact on the same example, the Latimer story.
4077 If a reporter was doing what a reporter is supposed to do, he or she would be covering that story in a fair and accurate and as objectively a manner as possible. And the same thing would happen if the reporter was doing a television report say in addition to a print report.
4078 So the question of a particular slant on the story in various media creating problems for the community really should exist if the reporter is doing a proper job.
4079 Now, in the case of a reporter that isn't doing a proper job or particularly in the case of say Christie Blachford that Ken mentioned, if Christie Blachford's column in the paper was accompanied by interviews with her say on the television station owned by the same owner, somebody in that community might feel that they were getting too much of one particular slant on that particular story. And if they feel like that, they do in Canada, of course, have a recourse.
4080 One of the things I have been saying for years is that one of the greatest underappreciated assets of the media system in this country is a very highly developed system of voluntary accountability. We have press councils in virtually every province and now we have, as you know perfectly well, the Canadian Broadcasts Standards Council.
4081 And in that sense our media system has departed very radically from the American media system where they tried to bring in a system of accountability for newspapers 10 or 15 years ago and the major news organizations objected so strenuously and refused to cooperate and it sort of fell by the wayside.
4082 And in fact I have been saying for years that the media organizations themselves have done themselves a disservice by not publicizing that and trying to attract more attention to it and I was delighted when Leonard Asper this morning, and I didn't know beforehand that this was part of the brief actually, committed a fairly sizeable amount of money to try to encourage Canadians in fact to use this system more effectively.
4083 And from my point of view I think that kind of voluntary accountability is preferable where possible to trying to write rules or create mechanisms which in the case of the Quebec example are getting right into the internal workings of a news organization and actually dealing with the flow of information within a news organization including its newspaper properties.
4084 I think this morning when I was listening to the discussion on that, I was wondering if you could find very many precedents for that in the developed democratic world, and I'm not too sure you could.
4085 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: But can I ask you whether you think with the converged media scene both in this company and Bell Globe Media whether the public should be concerned that their voices will be heard less, that there will be less of a diversity of voices heard through these media?
4086 MR. DESBARATS: That they should be concerned that there will be fewer voices heard?
4087 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Right.
4088 MR. DESBARATS: I think that is a concern that has existed for some time because we are dealing with a media scene in this country that has become increasingly concentrated.
4089 The response to that has been, as I said, a fairly highly developed system of voluntary accountability which the media themselves have not used effectively and certainly not advertised effectively. But it is used fairly extensively. I think that has responded, to some extent, to that concern.
4090 When we are talking about convergence and reduced number of media and diversity, one of the main concerns I had -- and I won't repeat everything I had in my written presentation -- is that events in the industry itself, particularly in the newspaper industry, have triggered this whole discussion in fact. It is because of a decline, a consistent decline in the newspaper industry in this country over a period of 30 or 40 years that we have seen the changes of ownership that in fact that have triggered concern now about the emergence of multimedia conglomerates.
4091 In fact, if these multimedia conglomerates had not come into existence, there is a very distinct possibility that the number of newspapers would continue to decline and that in fact that would represent a greater threat to diversity than the kind of development that we are now seeing.
4092 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Can I just come back, then, to the first point I had, the starting point, which is to just take you a little further on the issue of what you will be doing with a new national show.
4093 You have talked about a forum for national commentary. I just want to get a better sense of how that will be constructed, whether it be national, is it every day, how long it's going to be, how would you select the people who get on-the-air?
4094 MR. MacDONALD: We are still designing it. But the chief vehicle for that would be the new public affairs show and we would set up some kind of -- the executive producer of that program would institute a mechanism with consultation on the TV side to try to identify commentators and people whose voices are not being heard that perhaps should be heard.
4095 I realize that is a sort of quantitative statement. I mean, we are sitting in judgment to some extent.
4096 We do believe -- and this is a principle that runs through the theme of the National newscast as well. We do believe that in national news programming, talking just on the TV side, there has been a tendency, and we have all been guilty of it, to concentrate more in terms of coverage and giving voice to the powerbrokers, the politicians, the leaders of special interest groups, all of whom have something important to say, but often to the exclusion of others, particularly on a regional basis.
4097 It is one of the reasons we located the National newscast in Vancouver. It was our belief that when you are filtering your editorial decisions through the prism of we are located in Toronto or in Ontario and how is this going to affect Ontario, the vision becomes narrower and it is exclusionary.
4098 We think our programming, both the National newscast and the public affairs show, can serve a real need to give voice to the regions on major national issues, whether they emanate from Parliament Hill or from a corporation in Toronto, and also to provide a greater diversity of voices and a balance of voices across the spectrum, be they on the right, on the left, be it the voices of cultural minorities, be it whatever.
4099 We are working on a mechanism that will do that and that we can select editorially based on input from the national team, news and public affairs team, but also from our regions to identify commentators who can bring a fresh perspective, something that wasn't heard in the 30-second clip on the news that week but perhaps on an issue that was prominent in the news that week.
4100 I don't know if I answered your question or not.
4101 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Well, sort of.
4102 I guess your thinking is fairly preliminary and I was wondering if it was a bit more developed would it be interview style? Would it be a microphone in somebody's face?
4103 MR. MacDONALD: No.
4104 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Would it be a clip from a speech that somebody gives?
4105 MR. MacDONALD: No, it would be a commentary. Somebody with a view would be invited to come onto the program and say what is not being heard in all of this, ba-ba-ba-ba, and there would be balance on that perhaps in the -- there would certainly be balance overall in our coverage, but we may do a point/counterpoint, which is also what we are looking at.
4106 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Are you looking at something that would be every day?
4107 MR. MacDONALD: Right now the chief vehicle for that would be the public affairs show for that formal forum, that commentary forum, but clearly --
4108 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Which is different from your National news?
4109 MR. MacDONALD: It is a different program. It's the public affairs show. The National newscast is Monday to Friday.
4110 But again, with the National newscast we are interested in providing a balance of views there as well. I think there we would be striving to do it more in terms of our coverage and the interviews that are conducted after a news item in the program.
4111 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: On the National news -- I'm sorry to keep sort of pressing you, but I really wanted --
4112 MR. MacDONALD: No, no.
4113 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: My sense of those in the public who are concerned about there being less voices being heard, for them this is one of the safeguards: As you converge what opportunities are there for people to have their voices here? Indeed, in newspapers you have letters to the editor and op-ed pages. There isn't that much opportunity in television.
4114 MR. MacDONALD: You are bang on. That is what we are suggesting, that these would be predominantly commentaries from people other than the journalists that they hear from all the time in our organizations.
4115 You know, there may be a columnist somewhere who is identified as such that we would put on on a particular issue or there might be a point/counterpoint discussion on a particular issue if there are two views. (a) it's good television and (b) it is the best way to flesh out an issue, as we have done over the last hour and-a-half on this issue of convergence.
4116 That is where we are going with this, is it is an opportunity for those outside of the established media organizations and political structures and interest groups to have a say.
4117 We are not suggesting it is revolutionary, we are suggesting it is an element of the philosophy we are bringing to bear in our new national programming, which I think we have been consistent on since we announced these measures back at the WIC hearing and which we believe in quite deeply.
4118 We think there is a different way to do national news and we do want to be an alternative in that respect.
4119 MR. NOBLE: I could just add to that, Commissioner.
4120 By moving the newscast out west the Rolodex changes. The people that will be sought, the experts on certain stories will be different than would otherwise have been sought in Toronto. That has been a complaint for years in the Canadian news systems. Deliberately that is why we moved the news out west, because we want to seek out new and different voices beyond the traditional voices that we always see on television.
4121 So, to coin the phrase, a Rolodex in fact will be expanded.
4122 MR. ASPER: Commissioner, if I could just add to the --
4123 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Sure.
4124 MR. ASPER: -- I guess I come back to the larger picture about the media landscape. I can't stress enough how important it is to consider how many more outlets there are for people to express themselves today and the role the Internet itself has played in that, both in websites -- the establishment of websites on their own, but also the ability of the television station to have an immediate contract with its viewers.
4125 One of the things that CNN has done well, and other stations have done, and we have started to experiment with in Canada, and we certainly will expand in a very robust way, is the viewer feedback coming right on the screen as somebody is making a statement on television. If a host or a guest on a talk show is saying "A" or "black", somebody writes in saying "white".
4126 That immediate feedback is a phenomenal new element to journalism, because the essence of journalism -- as my friend Ken Goldstein likes to say -- is controversy and debate.
4127 By licensing CanWest, as you have over the years, to become a new voice on the stage you have done two things: You have added to the debate in the country and you have given us the resources to launch new products beyond -- whether it is a new newscast and now, believe me, with the newspapers and the critical mass we have, there will be more media products being produced by CanWest alone, never mind the ones that are continuing to be produced and launched by other people.
4128 So I think there is a big picture benefit that has accrued to Canadian society by virtue of some of the Commission's decisions and also by virtue of technology. That will find its way into CanWest's presentation to its audiences.
4129 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. On your website, do you have an opportunity for feedback --
4130 MR. ASPER: Yes, we do.
4131 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: -- that comes back?
4132 MR. ASPER: Yes. All newspaper and television websites.
4133 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Is it a chatroom type or does it just come back to you?
4134 MR. ASPER: It's both, e-mail and chatroom.
4135 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay.
4136 MR. MacDONALD: If I may just add to that, Commissioner, on that note, the new National newscast will obviously have an Internet component as well, and the show itself will have a viewer feedback segment and some critical media analysis pieces just generally on media issues.
4137 We don't know whether that is going to be twice a week or once a week or three times a week or every night yet. The show is still being developed, but that is going to be a critical part of it and that will extend onto the website as well.
4138 In addition to added information on a story, there will be an opportunity to get the feedback from the viewers, to discuss it with them, to chat with them, and that is going to be an element of the newscast itself.
4139 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you very much.
4140 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Cardozo.
4142 This morning, Mr. Asper, you used the phrase "tradition steeped in history". I couldn't help but think, sitting here this morning, that the spirit of the famous Nova Scotian Joe Howe wouldn't be hovering around this room somewhere somewhat taken by the debate and discussions.
4143 I guess notwithstanding the point of view of Mr. Desbarats and Mr. Goldstein, it is pretty clear from what we have seen around this issue for months is there is a considerable diversity of opinion on this very issue that we have discussed here today, the whole notion of editorial freedom and diversity of voice and expression, and indeed freedom of the press.
4144 I don't think anybody is challenging freedom of the press here in this exercise. I don't mean to suggest that.
4145 But I think we all recognize that those are cornerstones of our democratic society in Canada and so it has obviously become a very important issue for a lot of people on both sides of the issue and it has been an important issue for the Commission, notwithstanding the fact, as Vice-Chair Wylie pointed out at the outset of her questioning, that we don't have jurisdiction over the print media, but we do have jurisdiction over broadcasting and I think we have had a good debate about the issues here this morning.
4146 So, with that, I think we have a few other questions just as a perhaps sort of clean-up on a few issues.
4147 Commissioner Pennefather?
4148 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4149 I am referring to the memorandum we received this morning which offers the clarifications on local programming. Thank you very much for this document. I have gone through it and so have my colleagues and staff and all the questions are answered that we posed yesterday.
4150 I have one final question: Can the Commission expect that you will maintain these commitments throughout the full license term?
4151 MR. NOBLE: Yes, that's true.
4152 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you.
4153 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4154 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Grauer?
4155 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
4156 I just have one question I want to ask, a clarification with respect to your discussion with Commissioner Wylie and then I just have some follow-up from yesterday.
4157 Mr. Asper, I'm not sure I understood your answer to her about this clause 418 with respect to editorial policy.
4158 If I understand correctly, you said it was based on a principle of balance and fairness that you wanted put into this because this is what you have in television.
4159 But what I wasn't clear about was why you would extend that policy and identify only yourself, CanWest and its affiliates, sort of the privileges and rights that you wouldn't to other parties. In other words, why wouldn't this be a general clause as opposed to -- is there some reason that -- did I understand correctly?
4160 MR. ASPER: I guess the way I described it, we have included others by definition in the sense that if there is a lack of the balance and diversity and fairness in respect of all Canadians and all issues, then CanWest -- and I note here that the remedy is not to stifle anything, CanWest cannot prohibit anything from being in the National Post, all we can do is write a piece that presents a competitive or a different viewpoint.
4161 So again, the effect of the clause is to protect the principles which by definition then protect all the readers and consumers of the newspaper.
4162 Does that clarify it at all?
4163 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: No, but that is what I heard you say.
4164 I guess the question is: Why did you specify yourselves and not say to anyone to whom there might be an editorial position which could reasonably be viewed as embarrassing, that that person should be afforded the opportunity to respond?
4165 MR. ASPER: Well, two things.
4166 First of all, the reason the clause is there is because we are a non-controlling shareholder of an asset that is very much in the public view and is judged every day by the public.
4167 As a result we did not want our name associated with something that -- a media, a journal, if you will -- did not represent the values of CanWest. Those three values I have stated so many times, and the way it's worded maybe leaves some lack of clarity, but I think my statement today should stand in that by CanWest protecting its own interests in terms of the journalistic principles it espouses, those principles should -- and do, in my view -- accrue to Canadians and benefit Canadians by their very existence.
4168 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
4169 So now I want to go briefly back to yesterday and not having, for whatever reasons, had the benefit of the response to interventions kind of didn't maybe cover all the areas that I had with CTV.
4170 But I think rather than go back specifically to some of those issues, I would just like to read something out and see if it reflects the discussion and the principles we are talking about.
4171 When I spoke to CTV about their commitment over the licence term to productions in the area of priority programming in particular that really respected a balance of the regional diversity in the country, and the peak-time programming schedule reflects the commitments in both economic and cultural terms -- you know, the regional diversity of the country.
4172 Do I take it from our discussion yesterday that you essentially share that same commitment, that that is one you are prepared to make going into a licence term, notwithstanding the fact that we really only have one year in terms of your drama commitments in the documentaries, the strand that runs overall.
4173 Do you see that as reflective of your stature as one of the two premier national broadcasters?
4174 MR. NOBLE: Absolutely.
4175 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Okay.
4176 I read your response to the interventions and have noted in particular your response to B.C. Film. As we discussed last year, the issue of conventional television licensing is an important one which is common to all of the provincial organizations in Western Canada -- these film organizations, producers associations.
4177 I don't want to leave out Atlantic Canada, but frankly they haven't engaged in this matter to the extent that producers in Western Canada had and that may, in fact, be partly as a result of the success of Salter Street and the production activity that has developed from that.
4178 The key issue is that when benefits and commitments resulting from new licences dry up or run out so do the licence fees. That has been the position taken by a lot of these organizations.
4179 Both the Alberta producers and the B.C. producers have been benefitting over the last few years from new licences issued in Alberta and British Columbia, whether it's the A Channel or CTV in British Columbia.
4180 So I guess my position is this. There has been a lot of talk about whether there should be quotas, whether there should be certain formulas, and certainly CTV was unequivocal is saying that that wasn't required. I take it from our discussion yesterday that you share that position.
4181 MS MAWHINNEY: Yes.
4182 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Okay.
4183 But what we all seem to agree on is the importance of the principle and the objectives as articulated in the Broadcasting Act and the TV Policy in these areas. You talk about meritocracy, CTV talks of not wanting to tamper with creativity. A cynic could take that as a way of justifying not perhaps making the investment and taking the time and trouble to identify and develop talent that maybe isn't right around the corner.
4184 So this involves a commitment on your part, as it does on the part of CTV, and if you make the commitment -- which you seem to be willing to do as they do, both with your existing drama commitment now and the successes you have experienced -- there could very well be a big pay-off.
4185 In other words, if you accept that there is a lot of talent out there across the country, that there is a lot of opportunities out there to develop quality programming, it does require the commitment in terms of development, to invest in it, to develop it and to see it come to fruition.
4186 I am wondering if a way to approach this isn't to -- we talked with you about annual reports and drama in Western Canada. We talked a little bit with CTV about whether they would be willing to make annual reports.
4187 I wonder if we identified the indices that are important -- and this goes back, I think, to the B.C. Film report and the issue you took with respect to the statistics they used -- but if we could all agree, meaning the producers, the CFTPA, the broadcasters, on what were the key indices -- whether it's licence fees, some rights ownership, whatever it might be -- and had perhaps developed some annual reporting which allowed producers to respond -- that were published -- that that might be a really constructive way for everybody to get a sense of what was happening out there in a way that is agreeable -- because, you know, I think the important thing is it's perhaps not as lofty as the issues we have been discussing with respect to cross-ownership.
4188 It's a very important issue in Western Canada and has been for some time, and I think that if we all agree that we want to go to a certain place, and we all agree it's important, then rather than the pressure on quotas or percentages or hours, that we could find a way to monitor what is happening and, you know, see if it needed to be fine-tuned, in some way isn't a constructive way to approach it, to start to address the concerns that have been raised, as I say, for many years.
4189 MS MAWHINNEY: Gerry, I'm going to answer this.
4190 MR. NOBLE: Go right ahead.
4191 MS MAWHINNEY: A couple of things. I just want to say for the record that our activity in the West has not been because of any particular benefits or licences. That was not the --
4192 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I understand that.
4193 MS MAWHINNEY: Okay.
4194 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Just so I'm clear. I don't want to make this just about you. Let's look at it -- that's my point now is to say, let's look at it overall.
4195 MS MAWHINNEY: Okay.
4196 The basic philosophical opposition that I feel is that when you have a cap, it automatically becomes somebody else's floor. Let me give you an example.
4197 We spent a considerable amount of money and time this year with Forefront, developing a series called Republic of Nowhere. As you know, very sadly these townspeople are going to be closed down by the summertime. So we can't project what is going to happen in each region and how healthy people are going to be.
4198 You know, somebody in one of the interventions slammed us because they said Black Fly wasn't really a regional production because now it has been bought by Alliance Atlantis. I mean, we are not in control of that.
4199 So I'm a little bit leery of getting into -- first of all, I want to say we agree with the concept. We would like to find fresh voices, talented voices, that are entertaining and compelling to our audience no matter where they come from, but I can't tell you that I will be able to find that in any given region at any particular time, and if what the annual report tries to do is make every single producer happy, it's not going to happen.
4200 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: If I could just respond to that.
4201 I agree with you, and I think everybody agrees these are cyclical, and I think that everything you are saying is true. I think there is an acknowledgement of that which is why something like this would have to be developed over a longer period of time. I think there has to be a willingness to make it work because I mean I think that when I read the interventions -- and it's something that I have struggled with because it's something that is raised with me, and it's where I live, and it's a real irritant -- I mean, this doesn't come as a surprise and if we can find a way to say, "Everybody has a commitment to do this", the key to me, a big part of it, is the commitment to spend the development money to try and develop it whereas they are cyclical.
4202 So I do think it has to be fair. I don't think it could be year by year. I don't think it can be about that because that is not going to work for anybody. It certainly is not going to help address this issue.
4203 MS MAWHINNEY: Then I am much more comfortable with that because you are looking for a trend or a balance over a period of time, and indeed that gives us some flexibility in nurturing and locating talent. So that's better.
4204 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So something like that we could look at working on.
4205 Thank you.
4206 MR. ASPER: Commissioner Grauer, can I just make -- I hate to leave a loose end and I sense that you were --
4207 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Please don't.
4208 MR. ASPER: You know this is not a hearing about the National Post, of course. I think what I can best do is give you an example of what that clause that you referred to means in practice.
4209 If the National Post ran -- and I know this is a highly improbable situation, but it works either way -- 54 articles over a period of three weeks condemning the free trade principles espoused by the participants in the Summit that is going on, and CanWest felt that there was a tremendous imbalance in the reporting and the editorial opinion on the Summit, there is a voice in Canada that is not being heard because there are voices that, of course, support free trade.
4210 That's why we think the clause, as enforced by CanWest, or as deployed by CanWest, will benefit Canadians because what we would do is say -- not an editorial written by CanWest or an op-ed piece, but we would say -- "We have had a letter from so and so who believes that free trade of the Americas should be introduced, and we would like you to make space in the National Post for that article".
4211 That, in our view, is how CanWest --by having that clause it doesn't benefit CanWest except in a sense that we are more proud of the publication, but it benefits the voices who are not being heard by virtue of our perceived imbalance in the publication to date.
4212 So that is, I guess, a practical example of what that clause was there to do.
4213 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: You can understand how it could be interpreted in another way.
4214 MR. ASPER: Yes.
4215 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thanks.
4216 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vice-Chair Wylie.
4217 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes, the test when you get into either constitutional, contractual or other law to enforce it is that it's a position which could reasonably be viewed as embarrassing, damaging or adverse to the interests of CanWest or its affiliates. So you would have to show that it's embarrassing, damaging and adverse to the interests of CanWest or its affiliates for the National Post to be one-sided.
4218 Hopefully, we will eventually get a code from you and it will be better drafted than this because it doesn't appear to say what you are making it say this morning.
4219 MR. ASPER: Sorry, you will eventually get a -- I didn't hear the word.
4220 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I said we were --
4221 MR. ASPER: A quote?
4222 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I said we were hoping to get a code from you eventually, but the drafting will be a little bit more on --
4223 MR. ASPER: I understand.
4224 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Because you are a lawyer, that is the test. You would have to show that it's reasonably -- it could reasonably be viewed as embarrassing, damaging or adverse to the interests of CanWest or its affiliates. To turn that into embarrassing because the newspaper isn't doing a good job of balance is not what one would read into this immediately, would it?
4225 MR. ASPER: I understand it is --
4226 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: To enforce that clause.
4227 MR. ASPER: I understand it is capable of multiple interpretations and I hope that I have set the record straight in terms of the intent behind the wording.
4228 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Of when you would try to enforce it. It would be interesting to see how you would meet the threshold. But anyway, I will leave it.
4229 THE CHAIRPERSON: So far everybody has their kneecaps and their shins intact.
4230 I just have one last question or two with respect to the advertising issue we talked about yesterday.
4231 I hadn't appreciated that -- and I apologize for that -- you were talking about 12 weeks for the 14 minutes, and your calculation of the somewhere between $4.5 and $5 million was essentially based on six weeks in the fall and six weeks in the spring.
4232 I guess that leads me to the question, if you found this to be successful, and I presume, based on these numbers, you presume it's going to be successful and that the strategy to allow you to -- how shall we put it -- bring your inventory perhaps a little more in line if not equal to -- not equal to probably, but more in line with the specialties -- why you wouldn't do it more than just 12 weeks over the year, in which case the advertising impact could be more significant.
4233 MR. NOBLE: Thank you.
4234 Just to clarify. Our estimate of the impact is likely to be only positive in the high-demand periods which are the fall, pre-Christmas sales period and then the spring period.
4235 Jack, you can elaborate on that.
4236 MR. TOMIK: I think Katie has the answer to that, Gerry.
4237 MR. NOBLE: Katie.
4238 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are going to run out of people here pretty soon.
--- Laughter / Rires
4239 MS FULLERTON: Yes, in relation to assessing it, it's very true because when we did an assessment of where we could gain new revenue, this is one of the areas of the high-demand times where we could potentially bring in some additional dollars.
4240 Other parts of the year there is available inventory and other available premium properties that can handle the advertisers' needs and, therefore, we assessed that these were the two key areas where there could be the most development.
4241 THE CHAIRPERSON: You could be doing this throughout the year or during more weeks, but --
4242 MR. NOBLE: There is no demand.
4243 THE CHAIRPERSON: But there may be no net gain even though you might be doing 14 minutes in a given hour, if you trade that off against what you have lost. There is no net gain outside of those 12 weeks. That is what you are saying.
4244 MS FULLERTON: Most of the gain would be within those 12 weeks, yes.
4245 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But you may be doing the 14 minutes during other hours throughout the year.
4246 MR. NOBLE: But there would be no net gain in revenue, correct. There is no demand.
4247 MR. ASPER: Commissioner, what happens is typically the supply-demand ratio evens out the pricing. So even if there is more inventory, the price goes down.
4248 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand. Thank you.
4250 MS MOORE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4251 Mr. Asper mentioned that one of your commitments is that there would be no TV personnel on the editorial boards of the newspapers.
4252 I would like to confirm for the record that that means there would be no officers, directors, shareholders or employees of CanWest on the newspaper boards.
4253 Is that correct?
4254 MR. ASPER: Yes, it is.
4255 MS MOORE: Could you confirm that, in light of the differences with print media, it is not likely that there would ever be any editorial boards per se associated with the broadcasting undertakings; that is to say that any editorial function, to the extent that there is any, would be performed by the director of the newsroom.
4256 MR. NOBLE: That is correct; director and producer of the newscast.
4257 MS MOORE: Earlier this morning Mr. Kent mentioned a content and convergence committee.
4258 Could you please describe the mandate of that committee, as well as its membership.
4259 MR. ASPER: I can file with you the membership. There are too many people involved to name them.
4260 Peter Kent would be one. Gordon Fisher from The National Post would be another; Giles Gershin from The Edmonton Journal -- sorry, Gerry is whispering in my ear.
4261 Russell, I guess you are on? No, you are on another committee.
4262 A lot of camels are being created in CanWest with all these committees.
4263 There is a very large committee that is looking at this. Jay Firestone is on this committee, from Fireworks.
4264 Content, of course, stretches across entertainment and news and information. It is constantly changing, actually. As somebody drops off it because they get busy with something else, we try to find somebody else within the system.
4265 We will file an "at the moment" composition of this committee.
4266 MS MOORE: Could you describe in further detail the mandate of that committee, please.
4267 MR. ASPER: It is quite loose and vague. It is to work together to enhance the content of the organizations and to find ways to derive more content from the combined resources that we have.
4268 MS MOORE: Would that committee be able to give directions, for example, to the news directors of the broadcasting assets?
4269 MR. ASPER: No. It is a voluntary organization in the sense that they work together and try to, as I have said before, fill the shelves of the content store for use voluntarily by the various components.
4270 MS MOORE: With respect to the code that has been discussed this morning in terms of a code that you would draft with respect to editorial independence and diversity of voices, would implementation of such a code also involve an internal watchdog committee with a complaint resolution mechanism similar to that employed in the Québecor context?
4271 MR. ASPER: Yes. We have not discussed it, but it would.
4272 Could I clarify some things. There was a question that Gerry answered earlier.
4273 I believe the editorial board of The National Post includes a shareholder of CanWest -- it does, named Conrad Black. There are a number of shareholders under the employee share plans.
4274 So I struggle to say, with certainty, that shareholders would not be on these editorial boards. I don't think that is something that we could commit to.
4275 MS MOORE: But controlling shareholders of CanWest would not sit on that board?
4276 MR. ASPER: Yes.
4277 MS MOORE: With respect to this proposed draft code that you have expressed a willingness to file with us and to abide by as a condition of licence, are you able to commit to filing a proposed code by Monday morning, copying the appearing intervenors?
4278 This would include the watchdog committee structure that we just discussed.
4279 MR. ASPER: Yes, we could.
4280 MS MOORE: Thank you.
4281 Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
4282 MR. ASPER: Sorry, Charlotte, about your weekend.
4283 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, counsel. I was just going to say enjoy your weekend.
4284 I believe that completes all the questioning for this panel at this time, at this stage in the proceeding.
4285 We will take our lunch break now. We will take one hour and a bit for lunch and will reconvene at 1:30, at which time we will commence the questioning for the individual Global stations.
4286 In the interests of reflecting Global's western orientation, we will start with the British Columbia stations and work east.
4287 We will reconvene at 1:30.
--- Upon recessing at 1225 / Suspension à 1225
--- Upon resuming at 1331 / Reprise à 1331
4288 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back to our proceeding.
4289 We have now completed the first phase of our proceeding where we questioned the CTV and Global groups of stations as groups or networks, as the case may be.
4290 Now we will turn to our next phase of the proceeding, where we will review the situation with the individual television stations across the country. The first group of stations we are going to deal with are the Global stations, and we are going to work our way from west to east.
4291 First, I understand we will have a general presentation.
4292 For that, I will turn to Mr. Noble.
APPLICATION / APPLICATION
4293 MR. NOBLE: Thank you, Chairman Colville.
4294 In the front row, to your right, we have Jack Tomik, the General Manager of CHAN (BCTV). Actually, he is the General Manager of all the Global television stations in B.C. and Senior Vice-President, CanWest Media Sales.
4295 To Jack's right is Jim Rusnak, President, Western Operations, Global Television Network. Next to Jim is Patrick O'Hara, General Manager, CH. To Patrick's right is Maureen Rogers, General Manager, Global Quebec. Next to Maureen is Barry Saunders, General Manager, Global Atlantic.
4296 In the back row, on my left, is Katherine Browne, Senior Financial Analyst, Global Television Network. To my right is Charlotte Bell, Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, Global Television Network.
4297 To Charlotte's right is Ken MacDonald, National Vice-President, News, Global Television Network; and finally, Katie Fullerton, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, CanWest Media Sales.
4298 On our expert panel immediately in front of you, on your right is Barbara Petersen, Western Development Manager, Global Television Network; and with her is Loren Mawhinney, Vice-President, Canadian Production, Global Television Network.
4299 Commissioners, today means a great deal to Global as this is our first opportunity to review with you the successes of our local stations and their plans for the next licence term.
4300 Each of our local stations is an integral part of the Global vision. With the Commission's approval of our acquisition of the WIC stations just last summer, Global is now a truly national network.
4301 As part of a national group, each station has the needed resources and support to maintain strong local service, even in those communities whose financial results require support from the group as a whole. Our expanded national role means that each station can build on its past success.
4302 Our local stations share a distinguished record in providing programming that draws on the strengths and experiences of the communities they serve. We will continue to build on that record, providing flexibility and format and the programming that will allow each of our stations to better respond to local realities and better serve the market.
4303 Throughout the next licence term, we will continue to provide local audiences with programming that is timely and relevant to them through our news and information programming. At the same time, we remain committed to serving special community needs through other non-news programming, whether it is a regularly scheduled program in certain markets or in the form of special events coverage, issues-based documentaries or other forms of local reflection.
4304 Throughout the country our general managers and their teams immerse themselves into their communities in a variety of ways. Our local programming philosophy rests on the principle that we are first and foremost dedicated to serving the needs of the community.
4305 This is why our stations pursue their own distinctive strategies to best serve the needs of their audiences, as they are the ones who live and work in the local communities. If we are to remain relevant, we must respond to the changing needs of the local community as they arise.
4306 I would like to call upon each of our local managers to recount their distinguished accomplishments over the past licence term and to outline for you their plans for the next.
4307 Despite the fact, Mr. Chairman, that you want to go from west to east, we have scripted this to start in the east and head west.
4308 So I will call upon Barry Saunders, our General Manager from the Maritimes.
4310 MR. SAUNDERS: I believe the east is very important to start first.
4311 Chairman Colville, Commissioners: Global in the Maritimes is 12 years old and for the last seven years a member of the Global family.
4312 The staff of Global in the Maritimes is very proud of the fact that we will be producing a minimum of 18 hours and 33 minutes of local programming weekly.
4313 We have produced a minimum of 16 hours a week of news and sports from around the Maritimes. Our news is designed to be an alternative service, distinct in style, editorial policy, content and scheduling. Global's news gathering is done through our main station in Halifax and four news bureaus: one in Sydney, Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton.
4314 We have 14 reporters/photojournalists covering all three Maritime provinces. Our news has and will continue to reflect the people and the culture of the Maritimes through stories such as "Maritime Troops in Eritrea (Africa)", by covering the Quebec junior hockey league from Sydney, Halifax, Moncton or Bathurst, or covering university sports around the Maritimes, or as well, covering the native exhibit of people and the life around the Saint John River Valley in the late 1800s.
4315 We produce "Maritimes Today", which airs five hours a week, Monday through Friday. This program has covered such as aboriginal rights, legal issues specifically for immigrants, Maritime folklore, women's issues, Black history in the Maritimes, and multicultural Christmas celebrations and traditions in the Maritimes.
4316 In addition to these weekly programs, Global in the Maritimes has produced many specials that have reflected and supported our Maritime region. Each year Global produces "The Empty Stocking Fund" in New Brunswick.
4317 We have also proudly produced the "Nova Scotia International Tattoo" from Halifax. We featured the Celtic traditions of my favourite Cape Breton, as in the "Cape Breton Fiddlers"; and produced a very special presentation on the Swiss Air disaster called "Swiss Air: Flight 111 Remembered".
4318 As well, we have produced the series on entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada, entitled "The Leading Edge".
4319 Global in the Maritimes is proud of our continued support of many worthwhile non-profit and cultural organizations in our communities. Often, without our support, these organizations would have a very limited profile or opportunity for promotion.
4320 We support the Atlantic Film Festival, Charlottetown Festival of Arts, the IWK Children's Hospital, Sport Nova Scotia, Symphony New Brunswick, Crimestoppers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, just to name a few.
4321 Many of our staff spend many tireless hours supporting organizations such as these.
4322 Global in the Maritimes is committed to reflecting the issues and the people of this unique region we call home. We believe we have been successful in touching the lives of our viewers.
4323 Now I would like to introduce my counterpart in Quebec, Maureen Rogers.
4324 Mme ROGERS: Mesdames et messieurs du Conseil.
4325 C'est avec beaucoup de fierté que je prends quelques instants pour vous parler des réalisations de CKMI durant les premières années de sa licence. En effet, quatre années seulement se sont écoulées depuis la renaissance de CKMI.
4326 Depuis 1997, nous proposons à la population anglo-québécoise de Québec, Sherbrooke et Montréal une programmation régionale répondant à leurs besoins. Et pourtant, en si peu de temps nous avons réussi à créer de très forts liens avec les communautés que nous desservons.
4327 CKMI s'est dotée d'une réputation enviable pour la qualité du contenu régional des émissions qu'elle produit pour le marché télévisuel de langue anglaise au Québec.
4328 We are especially proud of our accomplishments in the field of regional programming with "This Morning Live", broadcast Monday to Friday, 6:30 to 9:00 a.m.; "Global News" Monday to Friday, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; and "Global News" broadcast on Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
4329 Global Quebec broadcasts more than 20 hours a week of regional programming that reflects the realities of the different English speaking communities.
4330 Global Quebec established and relies upon its news bureaus in Montreal, Quebec City and Sherbrooke to provide on a daily basis strong news coverage of each of these regions. With the help of the members of our Advisory Board that have brought many vital local issues to our attention and the dedication of our staff, we have been able to provide our communities with a wide provincial news covering local stories to the forefront, whether's it's a story about a Quebec City South Shore inhouse treatment centre for addiction to gambling, or the Brome-Mississquoi hospital battle for bilingual status, or the pollution outbreaks in the Mississquoi River. We are proud of our record in this regard.
4331 Three years ago we introduced "This Morning Live", the first and only Quebec based early morning information program and it has proven successful with English-speaking Quebecers.
4332 When we take "This Morning Live" on the road, we have been able to play an increasingly important role in our communities on a day-to-day basis.
4333 For instance, on St. Patrick's Day each year we invite the Montreal communities to join us for breakfast during a live broadcast of "This Morning Live" from an Irish pub in downtown Montreal. And during the Quebec City Winter Carnival we send our live mobile, our Quebec reporter, as well as reporters from the Montreal newsrooms to cover the event throughout the week with special features inserted in "This Morning Live".
4334 Community involvement is also about being sensitive to the needs of the communities. Thus, we are also planning another live broadcast from "Buffet La Stanza" in order to help to raise funds for the Generations Foundation which provides school lunches for needy children.
4335 Global Quebec is extremely pleased to indicate to the Commission that we have performed all of our initiatives that were part of the station's benefit package within the timetable.
4336 The Granby Song Festival, to give an example, is a week-long festival in the Eastern Townships for francophone songwriters and performers from across Canada. Over and above our benefit package, Global Quebec coproduced with Quebec producers a two-part documentary on the Reichmanns and a further documentary on the Rocket Richard riot.
4337 In its four short years of existence, Global Quebec has successfully fulfilled and even surpassed its mandate. We look forward to the future to continue to grow with our community.
4338 MR. MacDONALD: Commissioners, Global Ontario was licensed in the mid seventies as the first regional television service in Canada. Global's regional mandate means it has developed an alternative service distinct in its style, content and scheduling.
4339 In addition to its regional news and information programming and its strong support for Ontario-based charities and arts groups, Global Ontario has also strived to reflect the unique and diverse character of the province.
4340 With regional correspondents in northern, southwestern and eastern Ontario and the province's longest running weekly provincial affairs program "Focus Ontario", Global has provided viewers across the province with an important service they have come to rely and can continue to rely on.
4341 Global's decision to launch the first, dedicated, live-capable news gathering helicopter in Canada has allowed the Toronto-based news operation to provide fast coverage of breaking stories from Ottawa to Windsor and points in between.
4342 Global also takes its entire supper hour show on the road from time to time, anchoring the program live from the scene of developing stories such as the Walkerton water crisis or the northern Ontario floods and from major celebrations like Ottawa's annual Winterlude Festival. We plan to increase these remote broadcasts in the future.
4343 As you know, Commissioners, Toronto is Canada's most ethnically diverse city, a true cultural kaleidoscope.
4344 Our news and information programming reflects that multiculturalism not only in the faces of our on-air personalities, but in the stories they report each and every night.
4345 When the Chinese community was asked to donate blood to find a bone marrow donor for a dying girl and when Kosovar refugees came to Ontario, their stories led the coverage on our evening news.
4346 We also celebrate our diversity with live remote coverage from events such as the annual Taste of the Danforth celebration in Greektown, the Chinese dragon boat races and the gay and lesbian Pride Parade.
4347 Also, Global and its dedicated employees devote time, money and promotion to a lengthy list of import groups which are working to make Ontario a better place. That dedication and commitment will only increase.
4348 MR. RUSNAK: Good afternoon, Commissioners.
4349 I'm pleased to be here today representing Global Television stations in the beautiful prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. I have been with Global for many years and know firsthand the commitment that we make to serving the communities in which we operate and I am especially proud to be given the opportunity to bring this same commitment to our newly acquired Global stations through Alberta.
4350 The seven station groups that I work with range from small market stations to the major urban areas of Calgary and Edmonton. We are absolutely committed to being active community citizens, helping to shape these communities in a positive manner and dedicated to reflecting back to our viewers a comprehensive and diversified portrait of where they live.
4351 How we do this? Of course we have regularly scheduled news and non-news local programming, complemented by a variety of specials and new documentary commitments. We partner with a multitude of non-profit and multicultural groups and tell their stories through on-air exposure in "City Watch" or other on-air segments.
4352 All of our staff, and in particular our high profile on-air personalities, are encouraged to volunteer their time and energy and to go out and help make a difference. We truly live the adage of thinking globally but acting locally.
4353 Each of our stations is able to make tremendous contributions, as acknowledged by the many, many positive intervention letters and the walls of plaques and awards that are proudly displayed within each of our stations.
4354 Our local programming plans vary from just over 12 hours per week in some of our small markets to in excess of 30 hours per week in Edmonton and Calgary and our approach to local reflection is adapted to each market. Allow me to share a few examples.
4355 In Edmonton we have an all day relationship with our community with a local morning show, noon hour news and early evening and late night local programming. Our "Morning Edition" program is the perfect vehicle to showcase the unique multicultural nature of that city.
4356 In recent weeks we have been live on location from the Métis Cultural Centre on Louis Riel Day, at Guitar Classique, a Spanish guitar concert preview, the Feast of Jordan, a Ukrainian celebration, at the African Heritage month celebrations as well as the Tien Lung Tae Kwon Do Martial Arts Event.
4357 Global Edmonton's strong news presence makes it a natural liaison for our upcoming "Yellowknife Bureau" as part of our northern internship commitment.
4358 In Winnipeg our approach is different. Manitobans are again on flood alert as they anxiously watch the rising Red River. During the last such crisis, Global Winnipeg, with the assistance of Global stations from coast to coast, mounted around the clock coverage with up to the minute live reports from high risk locations.
4359 Our coverage culminated in an award-winning special and video sales of that special raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Red Cross relief efforts. Perhaps it was the empathy to such situations that prompted our news management at Global Winnipeg to dispatch a crew to Honduras to report on that flood-ravaged country and the impact on Honduran immigrants living in Winnipeg.
4360 Global Calgary provides over 30 hours a week of local programming. In the few short months since the transfer of ownership, Global has added a weekday noon hour program as well as a late night sports show. This gives us an ongoing interaction with all aspects of Calgary's vibrant business, volunteer and multicultural organizations.
4361 Our smallest station, Global Lethbridge, last year was the recipient of a CAB Gold Ribbon Award for News and has recently produced a feature report on the success of an innovative drug and alcohol awareness program on the Blood Indian Reserve.
4362 As well, with the ongoing support of Global, we continue to produce two weekly half hours, "Agri-business Report" and "Commodity Futures" with obvious relevance to the agriculturally rich Lethbridge coverage area.
4363 In Regina, Global has made a commitment of $250,000 to establish a Visiting Journalism Chair at the University of Regina with a focus on aboriginal issues in journalism. And our stations in Saskatchewan are involved with everything from Children's Miracle Network telethons to bonspiel coverage to local fringe festivals in addition to regularly scheduled programming.
4364 This is but a sprinkling of our local initiatives. The number of organizations, agencies and individuals that we team up with every day is far too long to mention and will continue to grow throughout the next seven years.
4365 Our stations are fortunate to have many multi-talented, creative, tireless professionals who contribute one day at a time, one story at a time, one community event at a time. We are very proud of what they have accomplished.
4366 MR. TOMIK: Good afternoon. My name is Jack Tomik and I am General Manager, B.C. Operations for Global and I am happy to be here today.
4367 The first station I would like to report on is CHBC in Kelowna. We are very pleased to confirm with the Commission that the Okanagan's very own CHBC has enhanced its ongoing commitment to the viewers of south central British Columbia.
4368 Global's promise for additional local community coverage is now in place with a full time mobile and crew. Our new expanded noon news is also produced in an entertaining half-hour packaged called "Okanagan Now". In addition, a new half-hour news program is being produced and run at 5:30 p.m. on Sundays, giving the Okanagan residents a new opportunity to see what is happening around their area.
4369 The original promise to open a news bureau in Vernon has not only been accomplished but enhanced with the addition of a news bureau in Penticton as well.
4370 The promised endowment to the local educational institutions for media studies is well in the final development stages and should be in place for the coming semester.
4371 Overall we have increased our commitment to the residents of this beautiful valley by increasing news form 12 to 18 hours, increasing non-news reflection to two and a half hours and giving voice to the aboriginal people of our community by employing three native reporters part-time.
4372 That's my report on CHBC Kelowna.
4373 For BCTV, it's an incredible sense of history in that television station, but more exciting is our sense of the future and we believe that yesterday's accomplishments are significant only in the foundation of our commitment to meeting tomorrow's challenges.
4374 We are delighted with a further expansion of our local news from a commitment last licence term of 20 hours and 15 minutes to this new licence term of 42 hours and 30 minutes for British Columbians.
4375 One of our first long-form journeys to understanding will be a week-long series of feature news stories followed by a special documentary brought back from India and across Canada by BCTV journalist Jas Johal.
4376 Jas will tell stories of the important relationships between India and Canada and talk to the people in both countries who are involved in furthering these relationships. The documentary will be telecast nationally and will illuminate the importance of the intercultural and multicultural understanding.
4377 Another episode of our multi-award winning documentary series "Be Careful, Be Safe" is already in development and planned for telecast in September at back to school time. This documentary will focus on the greatest concerns of every parent, the safety and security of their children.
4378 Obviously we have a lot to look forward to at BCTV. We are confident that our sense of history, our vision for the future and out commitment to providing the best in television news, information and entertainment will allow us to achieve our objectives and those of the members of our viewing audience and our communities.
4379 MR. NOBLE: Thank you, Jack.
4380 Commissioners, you have now heard from the Global Network group of stations and now I would like you to have our new independent stations CH and CHEK-TV report on what they have accomplished in just a few short months and their plans for the next seven years.
4381 First I will ask Patrick to tell you enthusiastically about what's happening at CH.
4382 MR. O'HARA: I am proud to report to the Commission that the first phase of our revitalization plan for CHCH has been successfully completed. Reversing the former Ontario/Ontario centric orientation of the station and returning CHCH to its roots was not only embraced by staff but an outpouring of positive viewer reaction confirms that CH is now responding to the needs of the Hamilton-Niagara region.
4383 Thirty-nine and a half hours of news and local reflection programming per week combined with a strong rebranding campaign have helped CHCH reconnect with its communities.
4384 "CH Morning Live", the centrepiece of our new local programming, launched with positive reviews. The service cycle is complete. Now viewers can wake up to the morning news and come to "CH News" at 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. The suppertime newscast has been reformatted to include a 90 per cent local news coverage minimum.
4385 CH's recent two-part documentary showcased the history of the City of Hamilton with exclusive footage from the station's rich archives. The programs focused on Hamilton's immigrants, the people who helped contribute to the city's industrial growth.
4386 Now on to the second phase of our plan which calls for extensive in-depth coverage for the Niagara and Halton regions. Tapping into the resources and expertise of our newspaper properties in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, CH will now have value added above and beyond the services supplied by our regional television news bureaus.
4387 Secondly, entrepreneurs now have local television audiences that can directly respond to local advertising and promotions. Rebuilding a viable local retail advertising sales service to help support a positive economic environment for the new City of Hamilton, and that's just one of our priorities.
4388 As CH strengthens its ties with the communities, our local news programming will strive to be the number one source of live news and community information relevant to our region. CH News will continue in its leadership role to showcase the diversity of voices and opinions on its public affairs program "CH Straight Talk".
4389 Currently in development "Education This Week" will offer a town hall platform focusing on the region's quality of education with diverse views from educators and parents.
4390 Other non-news local programming will have a clear mandate to cover regional arts and community achievement. "Business Smarts" is an example of our new initiatives profiling local business people who have made a name for themselves and who have achieved entrepreneurial success.
4391 CH is conscious of the fact that to win back credibility and re-connect with Hamilton-Niagara viewers it must contribute in a substantial way.
4392 Our current plan includes:
- CH to produce and broadcast commercial free the 24 hour Children's Hospital Telethon
- Million dollar endowments for Communication studies at both McMaster and Mohawk College
- Creation of the Halton news bureau planned for early fall 2001
- Sponsor and support local initiatives such as The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurial Achievement Awards
- Develop and produce healthcare oriented programming reflecting the leadership role and expertise which exists in Hamilton region.
4393 CH local programming is bold. It's exciting. It's entertaining and it's contemporary. But most importantly it's programming that is linked to the community.
4394 For the Hamilton-Halton-Niagara region, CH is all about news and community information that is closer to home. The past nine weeks have been exciting times at CH and we intend to move the momentum even further.
4395 Now, I would like Jack to tell you about the exciting plan for CHEK on Vancouver Island.
4396 MR. TOMIK: Now, Commissioners, I will tell you about CHEK TV.
4397 Our key objective is to serve the people of Vancouver Island with responsible, timely, relevant news and public affairs programming. But our responsibility extends beyond the programming as we are leaders in that community. Our newly created community advisory council has met on two occasions and have so far provided invaluable input into the continued implementation of benefits previously presented to the Commission last spring.
4398 Our plan, to be implemented on September once we relinquish CTV affiliation ensures we will become even more rigorous as an Island station. We shall have opened a new studio in Nanaimo, which will enable us to feature reporters and newsmakers from Vancouver Island's second largest community.
4399 We are expanding our news from 60 to 90 minutes at the supper hour and concentrating our resources and coverage on the communities that we serve. We will also be launching a daily island magazine, a show that will celebrate the diverse cultures in the make up of Vancouver Island.
4400 We are launching a daily talk show named "Your Say" where we will invite viewers to air their concerns and ideas on local, national and international issues of the day.
4401 To accomplish island-wide coverage, CHEK will embark on an ambitious expansion of its microwave system to allow more efficient transmission of news around the island.
4402 CHEK will become aggressively local in serving its viewers. Vancouver Islanders have been served well by CHEK for a generation. Now, they will find even more reasons to turn to CHEK for leadership.
4403 MS PETERSEN: Commissioners, building on these strong local stations' commitment to continually remain relevant and provide forums for issues of concern, we have developed an exciting new concept for "Our Canada." "Our Canada" will be a series of 36 hour-long regional documentaries produced in all parts of the country annually during our new license term. These documentaries will be broadcast nationally in prime time as part of our priority programming commitment.
4404 We believe this initiative is a way of reflecting Canadians to each other, to share experiences and issues of concern to all from coast to coast. In "Our Canada," Canadians will have a national window through which they can talk to each other. The topics will range widely from dog sled racing in Northern Alberta to aboriginal issues in the Prairies to covering the Stan Rogers folk festival in the Maritimes. But they will all be interesting and reflective of local issues.
4405 These documentary specials will be regionally focused, issue oriented and reflect the richness and cultural diversity of our country. They will be commissioned from independent producers located in regions where we operate local stations. This important initiative will allow local stories and issues to be debated and shared nationally.
4406 MR. NOBLE: Chairman Colville, Commissioners, as you can see, our local stations are focused on their communities and eagerly looking forward to the next seven years. Always remembering that stories begin in communities, our local stations will continue to be an integral part of every community they serve.
4407 Local stories come to the attention of other communities through the media and many stories have impact and relevance to individuals and groups in regions or across the country. The continued strength of our local stations will enrich each story locally in the region and nationally. The Global group of stations will work individually and together always to fulfil its obligations, not only of the Broadcasting Act, but more importantly to the local community audiences through its entire program schedule.
4408 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, in many of our markets our local programming commitments are being surpassed. Our plans are to continue this level of service. And I want to assure the Commission that every station as a minimum over the next license term will meet its commitment of local programming under which it currently is operating, except in those few cases where a reduction is necessary to make room for the introduction of our national newscast.
4409 Thank you for your attention. We are now able to answer your questions.
4410 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Noble, ladies and gentlemen. As I indicated, we will start, in spite of your enthusiasm for the east and mine too, Mr. Saunders, because it is my home in spite of the fact I don't get there very much, we will start with British Columbia and Commissioner Grauer.
4411 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
4412 I must say, Mr. Tomik, every time you are here you have a different job. I am actually beginning to wonder which one is full time.
4413 MR. TOMIK: Convergence is about multi-tasking, Commissioner Grauer.
4414 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Apparently.
4415 I especially find it interesting when I told that our stations pursue their own distinctive strategies to best serve the needs of their audiences because they are the ones who live and work in these communities.
4416 Maybe what I will do, I am not sure whether to start -- I have some questions with respect to the presentation. Maybe I will clarify that at first.
4417 You mentioned with respect to CH that, and this is with respect to the regional stations, that 90 per cent of your news, if I understood it, is local, the orientation is local?
4418 MR. O'HARA: The suppertime hour newscast, of which there are approximately ten local stories, 90 per cent is uniquely local. That is part of the format.
4419 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: And so I guess my question is does that extend to CHEK as well?
4420 MR. TOMIK: Yes, it will when it happens.
4421 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: When it happens. Okay.
4422 So with respect to CHEK does it then not have a manager or it has a manager?
4423 MR. TOMIK: Oh, yes, it does. Commissioner Grauer, first I want to predicate my position because you asked about it.
4424 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Good idea, yes.
4425 MR. TOMIK: And certainly as you full well know I'm a British Columbian and I live there and spend as much time as possible. I have been given this great opportunity and it is kind of an interesting one because after 20 years across the street trying to do damage to this television and all of those television stations, it is neat to be on the inside.
4426 But my --
4427 MR. NOBLE: Competitive damage, Jack. Competitive damage.
4428 MR. TOMIK: My duties have been severely reduced in the sales aspects. There has been a hire of a new person to replace most of those duties. So I will be concentrating and focusing on British Columbia.
4429 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I see.
4430 MR. TOMIK: Now, to answer your first question, yes, we do have a full-time general manager at CHEK. His name is Ron Eberle.
4431 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So what I would like to talk about is the issues with CHEK first of all and particularly the local orientation. Certainly you went over it in the presentation and I just want to remind you of the specific commitments with respect to local reflection and the regional nature of CHEK TV.
4432 What I would like to do is get an understanding and make sure we have a common understanding of regional and local and what that means, particularly with respect to CHEK, in terms of its programming orientation, of its news, of all its local programming.
4433 MR. TOMIK: I think a couple of things, and as you well know, we have to carry the CTV affiliation through to August 31st of this year.
4434 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Okay. Let's assume we are starting September 1.
4435 MR. TOMIK: Okay. A couple of things to note. The first noticeable difference on CHEK will be the absence of the BCTV news hour at six o'clock. It will not be broadcast as of September 1st. As of September 1st there will be a new 90-minute block of programming that will be produced in the CHEK studios and apply to CHEK. It is proposed to be, and will be, a standalone newscast that hopefully will serve all the news needs of people on Vancouver Island. It will have components of international news and national news, but highly focused on the island and not just Victoria, but all of the island.
4436 So that is the first part of the platform. I think the second real true local reflection will be the "Your Say" half hour talk show and it is scheduled right now for mornings. And that will be a Vancouver Island-based half hour program that will talk about things that are happening around Vancouver and give viewers the ability to have input there.
4437 The second proposal is for "Island Noon," which will be partially a newscast, but moreover it will be a place for the cultural diversity, the community activities that are happening in and around the island to take place. Certainly in the plans and proposals which are now well along in the development stage to be up and running on September 1st are plans for News Bureau Nanaimo and then Port Alberni to reflect those parts of the island that so far have felt some neglect.
4438 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: If I look at the schedule, what I would like to try and do is your schedule 5 that was filed, the 2001 schedule, is get a sense of the hours particularly of programming. What are news and what are local non-news on that. Do you have that?
4439 MR. TOMIK: This is the filed document this morning and it's quite lengthy. And you know what --
4440 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Oh, you know what, that is not what I'm -- why don't I --
4441 MR. TOMIK: We can work off of this schedule if you would like.
4442 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Why don't I sort of go through some of the programs that I have some questions about. Unfortunately I don't have them all added up by the hour here myself. But if we start at six in the morning, categorized or coded as local is "Body Moves."
4443 MR. TOMIK: Yes.
4444 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Is that part of your local non-news programming?
4445 MR. TOMIK: It's a locally produced piece of non-news programming, yes.
4446 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: And so that is part of your local programming?
4447 MR. TOMIK: It is a part.
4448 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Yes.
4449 MR. TOMIK: I think overall, Chairman Grauer, in the --
4450 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Oh, I wish I was -- or not.
4451 MR. TOMIK: Commissioner Grauer. Shape of things to come.
4452 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Then I could have his seat and make him sit beside me.
4453 MR. TOMIK: I think I should make clear right away that our non-news commitment for CHEK is for six hours of reflection, non-news a week.
4454 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Correct. Seventeen hours of news and six of non-news. Right?
4455 MR. TOMIK: Correct. And the schedule that you have before you and the new one that we have put in actually shows ten hours and 30 minutes of non-news here. So as you can see there is a significant over-achievement on the minimum commitment of the license. So we can go through each one if you wish.
4456 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I guess the real question -- what I am really after here is the rationale for allowing the ownership of the two stations was that CHEK would be intensely local and regional.
4457 MR. TOMIK: Yes.
4458 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: And that the programming that is both the news and the non-news programming is focused on a local audience. So what I'm trying to determine is in some of these shows like "Body Moves," is to what extent does it appeal to the entire audience or throughout the Greater Vancouver area and everyone where the signal is carried or is it directed to the people of Victoria?
4459 MR. TOMIK: I think to answer your question, first of all, there are a number of programs in this schedule including "Body Moves," "Home Check," "Get Up and Grow," that may be of interest to viewers outside of Vancouver Island. And quite frankly we think that is a good thing.
4460 But within the core values of the six hour minimum that we have promised of local reflection, that would include things like "Island Magazine," the "Natives Affairs" program, "Island Morning" and those kinds of programming. We have actually met and overachieved on our minimum commitment of service to Vancouver Island.
4461 That having been said, historically "Home Check," "Get Up and Grow," which is a gardening show and very apropos to Vancouver Island and "Body Moves" have been there historically and for a very long time.
4462 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Yes, I know. Actually I'm an early riser and I see "Body Moves" on CHEK. But I think really the issue here is the extent to which those programs are reflective of the expectations and the commitments to do intensely local programming. And I think that there is an important distinction between those that appeal to a broad audience and those which are very much focused to the local audience.
4463 MR. TOMIK: Commissioner Grauer, we agree with you and if you look at the schedules line by line and you consider the two and a half hours a week of "Your Say" the talk show, which will be intensely local, the "Best of Island Magazine" on the weekend which is intensely local, the "Native Affairs" which will be intensely local and the "Island Magazine" we come to and in fact overachieve on the six hours that we had promised.
4464 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: The other question is the Native Affairs show is also -- is that strictly local, Vancouver Island native issues, or are they aboriginal issues which could be of relevance to the whole Lower Mainland?
4465 Do you understand what I'm getting at?
4466 MR. TOMIK: Yes, I do.
4467 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Because it is a really important issue in terms of allowing Global to have the two stations in the one market, the intensely local focus that CHEK was going to have with respect to these hours.
4468 MR. TOMIK: I guess, Commissioner Grauer, if we presented to you a schedule which had only six hours of non-news programming, only the six that were committed to, and in that total was included "Body Moves", I could understand you questioning the validity of that concentrating on the Island.
4469 But, in fact, the non-news total is not six, but 10.5 hours on this schedule.
4470 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Let me count.
4471 MR. TOMIK: You bet.
4472 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I can't count. We will get back to it later.
--- Laughter / Rires
4473 MR. TOMIK: I will happily help you through this.
4474 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: It's been a long --
4475 MR. TOMIK: "Island Magazine", which is 30 minutes Monday through Friday at 6:30, which is non-news, is 2.5 hours. In addition, we have "The Best of Island Magazine" Saturday at 6:30, which is a half an hour.
4476 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I think perhaps the problem we are having here is the "Island Magazine" show.
4477 MR. TOMIK: Oh, okay. That will be non-news.
4478 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: It will be non-news?
4479 MR. TOMIK: Correct.
4480 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I though you described it as sort of a news round-up kind of program.
4481 MR. TOMIK: I'm sorry, I must have misled you there. My apologies.
4482 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Okay.
4483 MR. TOMIK: It is happening right after our newscast, so it will be non-news and focused on community arts, entertainment and the things that matter to Islanders.
4484 My apologies.
4485 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: No, no, don't. It's not a matter -- it's my, perhaps, misunderstanding of it.
4486 I guess the misleading part is having those "Body Moves" categorized as local suggests that it is --
4487 When you talk about the synergies that we talked about this morning -- the synergies of owning all these properties and the extent to which these will be reinvested in programming, I think was part of what was talked about this morning -- how do you envisage that benefitting CHEK?
4488 MR. TOMIK: I see a number of benefits for CHEK.
4489 First I will talk about something that is near and dear to my heart and that is revenue and the fact that the ties with the Times Colonist may breed some more revenue as I described yesterday.
4490 I think in terms of content and the enrichment of content, certainly owning the Nanaimo newspaper has allowed us to probably do a better job in terms of the size of a studio and the facilities that we will have there to reflect the northern end of the Island.
4491 I think in terms of the Times Colonist for CHEK-TV specifically, they have a number of very, very talented journalists that specialize in certain fields around Victoria. For instance, they have an incredibly good entertainment reporter who reports on the arts community, the music community, the artistic community in Victoria and we would certainly like to use her within the body of an "Island Magazine", let's say, as a guest commentator.
4492 I see a number of synergies that go to the viewer, go to the screen, go to the benefit of the people of Vancouver Island.
4493 In terms of public service, there is a new publisher at the Times Colonist just arrived recently from Montreal and he has become fast associates with Ron Eberle who runs the station.
4494 In terms of being able to provide back to the community, now there are two assets that can either go individually or go together to focus on things that are good for that community in terms of charities, in terms of arts, culture and those kinds of things.
4495 It's nice to have a friend on the Island.
4496 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Do you see the synergies manifesting themselves in more local programming? When the statement was made about programming that was kind of what I thought it meant.
4497 MR TOMIK: I think they may. Again, this is just a the very beginning stages, all of the things that Mr. Asper and Mr. Noble have described to you.
4498 By the way, I am at the very beginning stages of being a general manager. My 90-day probation isn't up.
4499 But I think Mr. Asper mentioned yesterday the ability to take some of the breadth of information that is coming out of the Southam newspaper chain and somewhere along the way eventually being able to produce daytime television that we can't now.
4500 I think the ability in three or four or five years to produce some number of hours every day in daytime, for instance, where we are losing audience, that is very specific and targeted in terms of interest to our viewers, is certainly an opportunity.
4501 If I look at Vancouver Island and how it applies to CHEK, certainly gardening, which is -- gardening is a big thing. I was at the community meeting last week, the community board meeting in Victoria, and I said "What are the three main things on the Island?" They said, "gardening, birdwatching and politics". So certainly a gardening show that could be developed with the Times Colonist in Victoria that may get an opportunity to broadcast nationally would be one thing.
4502 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: The only funny thing about that is -- I'm sorry to interrupt you, but when I watch gardening shows that are on some of the specialty services which talk about gardening in Ontario, there is not a lot of relevance to people on the west coast. But I think gardening is a good idea.
4503 MR. TOMIK: I think a second idea would be an environmental show coming from the Island. Certainly the northern Island, Port Alberni, Tofino are great environmental sources of richness to the whole country and those kinds of things could flow too.
4504 There are, I think, a multitude of ideas that can apply itself with this group of television stations and newspapers now that we can only dream about what that is going to bring forth in two or three years.
4505 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
4506 I actually don't have any more questions on CHEK.
4507 I can go to CHAN. I actually did count with CHAN.
4508 A couple of questions, the first being: I believe I had a question with respect to the hours of news, but it appears as though the national news is coded local.
4509 Is that what is on there? Is this station-produced? I'm not saying it's -- I just wanted to --
4510 MR. TOMIK: Yes, I believe you are right in the piece that you have.
4511 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: My main question with CHAN was: There has been a lot of talk about the importance of local programming and the importance of non-news local programming and how important it has been with CHEK, how important it is with respect to CH, with Kelowna and also with the Alberta stations.
4512 I just wonder, with a station like CHAN, which is enormously profitable, hugely successful, great audiences, so it provides a handsome return to Global, why, other than I think a bit of sports programming, you wouldn't be doing any non-news local programming.
4513 MR. TOMIK: This is a very good question and one that I have sort of a two-step answer for.
4514 The first one I think is an extremely important one and we have talked about it a lot today and it is what is within the body of local news.
4515 BCTV has been a leader in this country and around the world in how to make local news successful in terms of the audience service and the audience it gets. To my mind, and to the minds of the people at BCTV, the local television newscast has become the town square of the community they service. Within the body of it is not only news, but it's entertainment, it's information, it's community service, certainly within the morning show that is projected to start this fall, though we have one on the air now.
4516 In terms of the afternoon news, there is a lot of local community reflection within the body of that.
4517 I can't stress enough the fact that, depending on the television and the market you are talking about, that television station becomes the town square for the city.
4518 In the case of the recent earthquake that shook Seattle, but also shook Vancouver, we had the ability get on the air very quickly and in fact we found out very quickly which station was the town square. The audiences of BCTV's live coverage for the hours following the earthquake were 10 times the cumulative audiences of the other television stations in the market. So other service is available.
4519 In addition, though, especially speaking to BCTV, there are a number of other ways to serve the community.
4520 I could tell you about the 35th Annual Variety Club Telethon which just in February raised over $6 million for the community.
4521 I could also tell you about the various specials that are done to serve the community such as the one when Greg Moore, the famous Indy driver died, and we grieved with the community.
4522 I spoke earlier today about the "Be Careful, Be Safe" children's safety special that is going forward.
4523 So I think there are really two ways you can serve a community in terms of non-news programming. One way is with regularly scheduled, which we are experimenting with on Vancouver Island, and one is serving the community through your local newscast and also in terms of specials of things that are relevant today or right now.
4524 So going forward, though it doesn't show on a blocking chart, you will see a number of specials, whether they be the documentaries from "Our Canada" or specials that have to immediately reflect the mood of the community like the Greg Moore special, or the variety club telethon which can continue forever as far as I am concerned. You see those reflections, they just don't fit on a blocking chart very well.
4525 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I guess I wonder, though, if there is a balance somewhere. All of the kinds of programs you are talking about, whether it is covering the earthquake or Greg Moore, or a lot of these things, there is no question that this kind of programming draws huge audiences to BCTV and generally all of this news programming is enormously lucrative.
4526 The real question is whether or not there is some responsibility for a station, particularly that is the leader in its market, to be doing some non-news local programming somewhere in the schedule that may in fact appeal to perhaps a smaller audience, whether it is human interest profiles, whether it's something that isn't just part of package news, that is maybe commissioning some of the programming from local independent producers which isn't big and maybe important.
4527 The question is: Do you have that obligation to some of the people in the community? Because I think it is interesting to me to look at CHEK where it is considered to be important to be doing some of this other kind of programming, but clearly here it isn't. I just wondered if you could help me with that?
4528 MR. TOMIK: I think you have a good point and I think I can't stress enough the importance of the town square concept.
4529 If you talk to people in the community of Vancouver, where we both live, and you ask them if they would like to talk for 15 minutes during a half an hour program on cultural affairs Sunday afternoon or they would like to talk for two and-a-half minutes during the BCTV news hour about the same subject, I know they would pick. They know what they would pick.
4530 Because in terms of the community for the purpose of this station it is about big reach and talking to a lot of people all the time. I think within the body of -- and that is how we serve the community in Vancouver.
4531 BCTV is known for serving the community in terms of that local reflection through news. I think other stations in the market have balance to the BCTV set up and that is what we are doing in terms of CHEK. Certainly VTV and the upcoming renaissance of CKVU will maybe be pointed towards serving in a different way.
4532 I think BCTV certainly fits in a very successful way as part of that system balance to serving the community of Vancouver and British Columbia. I think the focus on that station on what they do very well serves the community well, as others focus very well on other things to serve and therefore you get a balance.
4533 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Well, I don't know, actually, who does it. Certainly VTV has conditions of license with respect to their original licensing with respect to non-news programming. Certainly CBBU hasn't been doing much, if any, for the last of its license term.
4534 I hear what you are saying. You do what BCTV finds most profitable to do and does it very well.
4535 I think really the question here is that -- particularly in a large market like Vancouver where the station is making a lot of money, and particularly its news franchise is very lucrative -- there not an obligation to be putting some resources into some other kinds of local programming.
4536 I'm not in any way saying that what you are talking about, people's access, doesn't have value. Of course, it has value and it's really an issue of resources is what it is. It's the question of whether you think that there is a responsibility for a big city station, the leader in Western Canada really, one of the most profitable stations in the country, doesn't have some obligation to be doing some of that kind of programming for its local audience.
4537 MR. TOMIK: I think when I was talking about the success of the BCTV news machine, Commissioner Grauer, I certainly didn't want to allude to the fact that it was profitable, though it is. That's admitted.
4538 I wanted to allude to the fact that --
4539 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: And there is nothing wrong with that.
4540 MR. TOMIK: There is nothing wrong with that, no. I'm not apologizing, but I think what we are speaking of is the success that that television station enjoys through producing the kind of programming that it does that serves the community, and how well it serves the community. And you know, I can give you hundreds of examples of the people who have benefitted from the service of that newscast because it's constructed so well and gets such good audiences.
4541 I think what you see in our application today going forward is a significant increase in the amount of programming on that station in a genre that they know they do very well.
4542 I understand your point on non-news programming, however within the body of news, as I said before, the expanding morning news, we will have a three-hour block five days a week coming up in this new licence term. Within the new news hour, within the six o'clock news, there will be more opportunity to reflect inside of a place that has a guaranteed audience delivery for those good things that we are talking about.
4543 That's very important.
4544 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Do I take it you are saying to me that you are not going to be doing any non-news programming on BCTV?
4545 MR. TOMIK: I would never say never to you, but what I would like to say is BCTV has a significant pivotal role over the next licence term in the future of CanWest. Certainly it has to serve the people of British Columbia through the things we are talking about.
4546 It also has the privilege of serving the national need in terms of putting our national newscast up for September 1st or September 4th of this year, or whenever Mr. MacDonald chooses to launch it. It serves in terms of specials that happen when they need to happen with the community.
4547 I think the service levels -- those services are never enough in any community, and personally I know that and I think corporately we know that. I think what we have presented for BCTV is a very rich and liberal service to the community.
4548 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So I want to say, first of all, that I applaud the national news initiative for which funds were identified and allocated as part of the benefits, and I think it's a great asset to the country, I think it's a great asset to British Columbia. I don't have any issues with that.
4549 The question is whether a station that is as much a leader as BCTV is and has been, not just in Vancouver, but for all of British Columbia and Western Canada, can find some resources to be devoting to providing more balance with respect to non-news programming.
4550 MR. NOBLE: If I may comment, Commissioner Grauer -- thanks, Jack.
4551 BCTV spends tens of millions of dollars a year on the category defined as "news" and over time this category of news has sort of morphed as we have responded to the audience and responded to the competition in the market.
4552 The actual news programming itself isn't what five years ago I would have called a "traditional newscast" which is hard-hitting news and information programming and then weather and sports and off you go. A lot of these programs that are coded as -- and Charlotte here is going to hit me -- news really contain the elements, I think, Commissioner, you are referring to. What is our connection with the community? How do we reflect the community? How is that broadcast to the community and how do we include them in our on-air programming activities? Those elements are contained within these programs.
4553 If I could clear one other thing up. Although overall the news does make its money in that market, certainly the morning news and the afternoon news are subsidized by the prime time news and so these programs aren't self-liquidating. They are a significant cost to the company, but nevertheless it still is our primary connection with the community and our primary contribution to the programming in that community.
4554 On the CHEK-TV example, what we promised to do there as part of the application was to return the program to its roots and that's where we felt that the community was not being adequately served in those programming areas, and that's why we have developed the schedule the way we have there.
4555 In the Vancouver market, it's our view that the community is being well served with the schedules that are available and the schedule that's on BCTV and the elements within the news programs which I will call "non-news". Maybe I shouldn't, but there is a significant amount of that style of programming within these 42.5 hours a week and that is our commitment.
4556 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
4557 I think that's it for me.
4558 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Grauer.
4559 We will now move to Alberta.
4560 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4561 We are actually I guess going to do Saskatchewan and Alberta, and I think that fits, and I think my colleague will do Manitoba. I would like to start with Saskatchewan with the spirit of my colleague Commissioner Cram beside me. Hopefully, I will cover some of the bases she was interested in.
4562 I was interested in your comment in the remarks this afternoon at page 11:
"Of course, we have regularly scheduled news and non-news programming".
4563 If you were here yesterday you will understand why I'm interested in the term "regularly scheduled".
4564 If I look at CFRE-TV and CFSK together for a moment, because there are obviously similarities and you present them together, and looking at the chart we received this morning which clarifies the amount of news and non-news, what we have now is the listing of the news which we had before and now the station-produced documentaries, specials and interstitial programming of 3.5 hours. I assume that's regularly scheduled.
4565 MR. RUSNAK: The news portion of that is regularly scheduled. The specials, the interstitial material are not regularly scheduled and that plays throughout the broadcasting.
4566 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So that leads to my next question which was the nature of this programming.
4567 In other words, if there was a special news event, it would be a telethon but the documentary would be on the basis of an occasional event or -- what exactly are these 3.5 hours then?
4568 MR. RUSNAK: Well, it would be a combination of need-oriented documentary specials that would be produced by one of those news departments. For example, the news crew in Saskatoon recently came back from Bosnia where they had followed the actions of peacekeepers from their region and came back and developed a special. Bonspiel coverage, tae kwon do coverage, telethons would be in the non-scheduled, non-news local programming.
4569 Over and above that is what we call interstitial and we have developed a couple of different brands of programming -- and maybe I will just step back a little bit and give some history.
4570 All of these stations -- and I will talk about CFRE, CFSK and CKND -- historically, prior to the start of the current licence term, did a number of in-studio day side talk shows. We found, as Dennis Watson from Kitchener was relating to you the other day, that the audiences just were not there for those talk shows.
4571 We took the resources and put it into developing brands like City Watch which is field-produced segments on what is happening in and around those communities, whether it's focusing on musical talent, arts events, and those mini-programs, if you will, which may be one minute in length or two minutes in length, run throughout the broadcast day, including in prime time, and get exposure for those events and personalities and causes throughout the day.
4572 What we have estimated, based on the numbers we filed, is that the aggregate of that on top of the weekly average of the specials would average out at about 3.5 hours a week, but it's not what you would typically think of as regularly scheduled programming.
4573 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Is it a different 3.5 hours for Saskatoon and Regina, or is the same?
4574 MR. RUSNAK: Yes, it would be totally different and it would be obviously in Regina elements that were related to the Regina community, in Saskatoon elements and events that were of relevance to Saskatoon, and Winnipeg again totally separate.
4575 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Where would this 3.5 hours appear on the schedule? I have the schedule 2001 sample in front of me here. Is it the news updates that you indicate that are in "Days of Our Lives" and "The Young and the Restless"?
4576 MR. RUSNAK: No, that's something else. That would be a Category 1 news update. The interstitial is, I believe, Category 12 type of material, and it would -- going back to the discussion that was being held on advertising flexibility, a lot of the U.S. shows are delivered with room for up to 16 minutes of non-program material, and the interstitial material would fall into those avails throughout the schedule.
4577 So they would appear in some of our highest rated programs as well as day side, as well as fringed.
4578 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So if in fact, you decided to do in Saskatoon a documentary for a particular reason, would you have the flexibility to place it in the prime time, the peak time schedule?
4579 MR. RUSNAK: Absolutely. We would coordinate that with the programming group, but whether it's election coverage or telethons or documentary specials like the Bosnia situation, room is made available to accommodate that.
4580 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I will move onto another kind of programming, although one other question about the schedule. What is listed here as informational programming from 11 to 12, and again on Sunday, what is that exactly?
4581 MR. RUSNAK: Which schedule are you on?
4582 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: CFRE-CFSK, Fall 2001. It was submitted with your application, and it says : Informational programming, 11 to 12 on weekdays and on Sundays. I'm just curious what that was, if that was the space that we were leaving open for this kind of programming, or if it were some other kind of programming.
4583 MR. RUSNAK: That's a variety of acquired programming.
4584 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Well, it's very important to hear exactly from you, as we said yesterday, what the reality is in terms of what ends up on the screen when we are talking about the news, and we appreciate the discussion on the way the news has morphed and morphing, but also non-news, and when we spoke this morning about a commitment to maintain the level of news and non-news presented here this morning, I think that was what we understood, that there would be on average the 3.5 hours non-news that's here.
4585 I understand the nature of the programming, but you are saying the commitment still stands.
4586 MR. RUSNAK: That's correct.
4587 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: In both CFRE and CFSK, there is Canadian programming expenses. I had a question of clarification on those expenses regarding the production of the long-form documentaries. As I understand it, in the financial information that you provide with your application, your contribution across the seven years here, or the full licence term, is your component of the long-form documentaries, the "Our Canada" series. Is that correct?
4588 MR. RUSNAK: Yes.
4589 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And I think we mentioned earlier that your portion of that, the four documentaries, would be produced in Saskatchewan. Is that correct?
4590 MR. RUSNAK: That's correct. There are four per year coming from Saskatchewan.
4591 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So in other words, all the monies allocated to Saskatchewan would end up in the hands of Saskatchewan producers?
4592 MR. RUSNAK: That's correct.
4593 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Is this allocation -- I believe there is a separate allocation for Regina so that both have an allocation to the long-form documentary series -- a separate allocation?
4594 MR. RUSNAK: There is, I believe, for accounting purposes and financial statement purposes, a separate allocation. The actual commitment to those four projects is that they come from Saskatchewan as opposed to an envelope of two per year from each market. That is kind of left open.
4595 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So the decision-making is left up to you in terms of what projects actually get done by which Saskatchewan producers, in collaboration, obviously --
4596 MR. RUSNAK: That is right. But to clarify, there is a general manager in Regina and a general manager in Saskatoon that report to me. And in conjunction with Barbara, we will talk with various producers and make those decisions.
4597 MR. NOBLE: That's right, Stan Schmidt and Greg Campbell will debate who gets what, when, and who has the best projects. That is how it will work.
4598 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: We received information as well in the reply comments from you regarding developmental spending. I have in front of me page 13 of that reply document: an amount of $50,000 and then $52,500 for CFRE and CFSK Saskatoon and Regina.
4599 Is that developmental funding over and above the funding we have just discussed on the long form documentaries?
4600 MR. RUSNAK: That is incremental to the funding that is set aside for the documentary series.
4601 Both those stations have had a development commitment in the past. This is an increased amount going forward.
4602 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Yes. I think it was $10,000 to $11,000 up to this point.
4603 MR. RUSNAK: Yes.
4604 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Could you tell me a little bit about how that developmental funding will be used.
4605 MR. RUSNAK: Again, it sort of works from the grassroots up. The members of the production community in Saskatoon are able to make their pitches to Stan or to Greg in Regina, and in discussion with myself and with Loren we make the decisions on the various projects that are going to get development financing.
4606 Last year we put money into the "Ted Olsen Project", for example, which is a production up in La Ronge, with a Saskatoon-based producer. That money is apportioned throughout the year.
4607 If the projects do go into production, either through the docu-series or otherwise, the development money rolls forward towards the licence fee as well.
4608 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So it is possible that this is development money for projects that end up in the documentary series.
4609 MR. RUSNAK: Yes, it could very well be.
4610 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But it is incremental.
4611 You think that largely it will go towards documentaries, then, this $50,000?
4612 MR. RUSNAK: Historically, the types of projects that have come out of the Prairie stations have been documentary-related projects. And there have been some kids' programs as well.
4613 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I will get back to the children's programming in a moment.
4614 In your financial expenditures on programming, there is a line that says regionally produced priority programs. Again, for CFSK it is an amount of $58,000, $59,000, $61,000, $62,000.
4615 What is that related to, if I may ask?
4616 MR. RUSNAK: I expect it is an allocation of the cost of inside entertainment.
4617 MR. NOBLE: I will ask Katherine Browne to respond, please.
4618 MS BROWNE: Currently there is a series of programs that Loren has talked about earlier in the process, called "Inside Entertainment", which is a regionally produced priority program. What we have done is we have allocated those costs across the system to the stations on a national allocation basis and put their station allocations in that line on the program expenditures.
4619 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: That is what I noticed, and it says Categories 4, 5, 10 and 11.
4620 Is that because of the "Inside Entertainment"?
4621 MS BROWNE: That is correct, yes.
4622 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Is there some sense that that allows for "Inside Entertainment" to provide us promotion coverage of artists, films and entertainment stars across the country as opposed to just in the centres?
4623 MR. RUSNAK: The producer for the show is based in Calgary, which is where I live. We have had a very co-operative relationship with Kirstie in Pyramid Productions. In fact, some of the footage that shows up within that program is sourced through the news departments in various cities where we have stations.
4624 So it is very much a co-operative venture from the point that we are able to help her gather content for a program that is then exhibited nationally.
4625 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: You mentioned children's programming previously. In both CFRE and CFSK there were commitments previously to a fairly interesting amount of children's programming and youth programming.
4626 Are you intending to carry that forward?
4627 MR. RUSNAK: I think there was a reasonably full discussion on it yesterday with Doug Hoover and others. We are in the same situation in the small market stations, where the audience levels for children's programming has diminished. We are proposing that, going forward, there would be no fixed commitment to children's and youth programming in our programming plans.
4628 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So what is in the schedule for youth and family programming at the top of the day is morning cartoons? It is still there in the schedule.
4629 MR. RUSNAK: It is still there in the representative schedule. As Doug indicated yesterday, some of that is morphing a little bit, particularly on the weekends, to more tween or teen-oriented programming.
4630 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Moving on to CISA Lethbridge, there is in the application an impressive list of local programs, which is quite interesting. As we noted, the expectation regarding the future is outlined in Decision 2000-221, and you have reiterated that in the memorandum given to us this morning. So we are talking now about 11 hours and 30 minutes of news and 4 hours of non-news for Lethbridge.
4631 Is that right?
4632 MR. RUSNAK: That is correct.
4633 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I have one question, and it is the nature of the program called "The Global Noon Hour", Monday to Friday, 30 minutes, as non-news.
4634 It is described as a noon news program. Could you tell us why that is listed as non-news.
4635 MR. RUSNAK: The description should be more aptly a noon-hour program. It is information programming obviously, but it tends to be a little bit longer form, more banter between the hosts and live interviews.
4636 It is constructed to fit the definition of non-news local programming.
4637 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Moving to Edmonton and Calgary, and Edmonton first, CITV, I have similar questions about the non-news component, just to give us a better sense of what we have as non-news here, 2 hours and 30 minutes.
4638 I think it is sports. Is that correct?
4639 MR. RUSNAK: That is correct. It is the late night sports review program as we describe it there.
4640 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Similar to what my colleague was talking about before, in terms of the city of Edmonton and its size and the kind of history that you have described in the programming for CITV in the application, and particularly when you think about the important component that you have raised in all the sectors of the application regarding cultural diversity and the value that the local stations can bring to reflecting their communities, apart from the sports, the non-news programming is not there.
4641 Can you tell us why in this particular case you thought that that would work as a way to reflect the community?
4642 MR. RUSNAK: Reflecting on what Mr. Noble said a few moments ago, when you look at the schedule of programming and we start with a morning block from 6:00 to 9:00, yes, in that block there is traditional news, sports, weather and traffic information. Also in that block would be a lot of live on-location, whether it is at the University of Alberta or the Métis Friendship Centre, or any other venue.
4643 There is an awful lot of what I would call local and community reflection going into the body of that program, as there is with the news and information programming throughout the day and into the evening.
4644 In that market we have 24, 28 hours, whatever the number is, a fairly significant commitment to -- 28 hours going forward.
4645 It really is -- not to want to try to redefine the coding system that we all work with, there is a lot of grey in trying to figure out what would be strictly Category 1 versus portions of it that do provide more community access, more softer, more entertainment information, more multicultural focus, as opposed to hard news.
4646 A lot of these hours are really blends of that. I think a lot of broadcasters struggle with trying to -- do you craft the program to meet the code, or do you craft the program to meet the needs of the community and then worry about the coding afterwards?
4647 I think that is more the approach we have taken. These shows are very interactive. They are out in the community. They do provide a lot of access and reflection throughout the day. We feel very proud of being able to continue that and increase the commitment a little bit in Edmonton going forward.
4648 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: You raise an interesting point, because we discussed this yesterday at the corporate level in terms of how you know that this kind of programming really meets the needs of the community.
4649 You just noted access by the community. I think Commissioner Cardozo was discussing that earlier.
4650 How do you know that this balance of 28 hours news and 2 hours non-news -- i.e., sports -- offers what the community is looking for? Do you have regular discussions or do you have a way to really assess that going forward as well?
4651 MR. RUSNAK: When you look at a television station in any market -- and perhaps the smaller the market, the more profound it is -- the TV station is involved with so many different groups and organizations.
4652 The men and women who work at the station are involved in an awful lot of different groups and organizations, particularly in stations where you have morning blocks of television. You have groups and organizations coming through your building all the time. You have reporters and producers out in the field interacting with community groups and multicultural groups.
4653 We get a lot of feedback that way. It is a step above intuitive, I guess.
4654 We also look at the ratings to know that people are watching. We look at the interactivity of the feedback that comes back, whether it is websites or viewer call-in lines in our newsrooms.
4655 One of the things we have done since rebranding the stations with the Global identification in Alberta is that during our news programming we have encouraged viewers to -- you know: "We are going to open our phone lines for the next couple of hours. Phone us and tell us what you think of us so far. Tell us how we are doing."
4656 We do some more formal polling and research around our news programming in those markets.
4657 So we have a reasonably good sense of how the community is responding to us.
4658 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: If we move on to Calgary, I have a similar question.
4659 Yesterday we had a concern about the amount of time for non-use. The commitment expectation in Decision 2000-221 was 9 and we ended up with 8.5. Today in a memorandum we found the .5. It is a pet show.
4660 I only have one question. Why is it "Pet Guys"?
4661 MR. RUSNAK: It is called "Pet Guys" because --
4662 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Is that us, too?
4663 MR. RUSNAK: It is "guys" in the generic sense.
4664 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Good.
4665 MR. RUSNAK: The hosts are a couple of guys, and it is a very clever segment or half-hour weekly show on all aspects of pets and pet ownership and responsibility and pet health.
4666 It runs in a number of markets. It is syndicated to a couple of the specialty services as well.
4667 I am not sure how it was left off the block schedule, other than there is a volume of paper here and I am surprised there were not more typos.
4668 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Yes. We were wondering how come it turned up. Here it is.
4669 It is part of a non-news package that has "B2V", "Global Noon Hour" again and "Sports Night". Again, what I see here, apart from the pet show, is the same mix that you have just described for Edmonton of a news block other than business and -- "Noon Information Magazine", which is a mix really, and the sports, where really the community reflection is largely as you propose it in the news component here.
4670 MR. RUSNAK: I would say that the situation in Calgary is very similar to Edmonton; that that block of programming throughout the day does provide an awful lot of access and community reflection programming, in addition to the hard news of the day.
4671 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: On both Edmonton and Calgary, again the development funding that is proposed is $210,000 and then rising to $220,500.
4672 How is it allocated between Calgary and Edmonton?
4673 MR. RUSNAK: I believe it's 110,000 for Edmonton and 100,000 for Calgary going forward.
4674 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And is it as we just discussed, incremental to the long form documentary component?
4675 MR. RUSNAK: Yes, it is.
4676 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Again, do you expect that that money will all be spent in Alberta with Alberta producers?
4677 MR. RUSNAK: I'm sure that Nick Rye, who is sitting in the audience here somewhere, from AMPIA will make sure that it is. We have a very good relationship with a lot of the producers in Alberta.
4678 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: CKRD, again I think it's really, I assume, the same pattern in terms of the activities, but here we see an interesting difference. CKRD has a far larger component of non-news. If I look at not just in terms of hours or numbers, but in terms of the type, nature of the programming, this business of farming, "Making Eight", which is the rodeo review, and "Sports Rap", can you give us a sense of why it is different here?
4679 MR. RUSNAK: This business of farming makes sense and Red Deer is in central Alberta, very much an agriculturally oriented community in addition to a lot of other development that's taking place there now. The program has been in the schedule for some years, has a following, has some audience and will be continued there.
4680 "Sports Rap", again as a CBC affiliate we don't have a great presence for weekend news. This is an opportunity to do a rap on the weekend. "Making Eight" is a series that historically has been produced there. I'm not sure whether it will continue into the future. It was a program that fit the audience and the activities that were happening around there related to rodeo.
4681 MR. NOBLE: Commissioner Pennefather, if I could. If CKRD had a morning program called "News", I would expect that the content that's in this business of farming would appear in that program. That's sort of the crux of the issue here, where do you have your local community programs and where do they best fit in the schedule.
4682 This is obviously addressing that local market but it is specifically identified because it doesn't fit within a larger three hour time block which we have coded as news.
4683 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I think that's interesting and you can get a sense of some of the concern here because one's understanding apart from just the category situation was also what one expects of a news show. It would have a certain format. Although it's morphing, it certainly is a news show so it has a particular goal and a particular mandate I would assume in terms of its production values and what it's there to do.
4684 When you think about the variety of needs of a community, the growing diversity of those communities, one could assume other kinds of programming that would also be of interest, both to yourselves and to the community, which would not necessarily have to be packaged within the news kind of programming, leaving more flexibility perhaps to community input to use to others. That's a bit behind the question too.
4685 The choice is made to reflect community through news. News comes with -- although evolving -- with a certain kind of production directive, if I can say it that way, and editorial component whereas other kinds of programming may offer different points of view.
4686 That's why I think it's interesting why your balance between the two is behind our interest, not just counting numbers, but understanding the nature of the programming and why so much is shifting away from local programming, except in the cases of CH and CHEK where we see that it can be done and there is interest for it, so there is a kind of a question mark there.
4687 Those are my questions on western Canada, except for Manitoba.
4688 Thank you.
4689 THE CHAIRPERSON: This may be an appropriate time to take a break, so we will continue on. As may become evident, we haven't assigned our workload naturally along the lines that you have split up, so Commissioner Cardozo is going to go next and cover northern Ontario and Manitoba, so I guess he will be talking to two of you and then Commissioner Wylie will do southern Ontario and Quebec and then I will have a chat with Mr. Saunders.
4690 So we will take our break now and reconvene in 20 minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 1500 / Suspension à 1500
--- Upon resuming at 1521 / Reprise à 1521
4691 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are back, ladies and gentlemen. We will return to our proceeding now and we will have questions respecting northern Ontario and Manitoba.
4692 I will turn to Commissioner Cardozo.
4693 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thanks, Mr. Chair. I will start with Manitoba so we keep in the flow. I realize, as Mr. Chair noted, these designations aren't the same as yours. They shouldn't be seen as any kind of endorsement of the separatist movement in northern Ontario to join Manitoba or anything like that.
4694 Let me just ask you first a similar question to the one Commissioner Pennefather asked you with regards to the information we got this morning on local programming. Just let me know if the answer is much the same with regards to CKND.
4695 You have noted three hours and thirty minutes production of documentaries, specials, interstitial programming. Is it the same kind of thing you were talking about for other provinces?
4696 MR. RUSNAK: Yes. It's the same conceptually, different content obviously.
4697 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: It would all be about stuff locally to the province.
4698 MR. RUSNAK: That's correct, yes.
4699 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And these interstitials are introduced where, just whenever they need it?
4700 MR. RUSNAK: They run throughout the schedule in Canadian programming or in the body of foreign programming, depending on where there are avails. As we discussed earlier, a number of the U.S. shows we get come with a lot more non-programming and content than the 12 minutes of commercial time currently occupies, so there's lots of opportunities for avails throughout the schedule.
4701 We found that because of the high profile nature about a lot of the programming where these mini-vignettes or interstitials appear that it is a very successful vehicle. We sort of have, speaking to your question yesterday of KTV, we have two different brands in Winnipeg.
4702 For example, we have a "City Watch" brand that runs throughout the schedule and it's a feature of what's going on around Winnipeg, the various talent groups happenings around the city. We also have another feature which is branded "Nightlife". We have, I think, the only dedicated entertainment reporter in Winnipeg.
4703 The material that Lisa Best gathers and produces throughout the day not only is reflected within the body of the newscast, but also through the nightlife vignettes or interstitial material that shows up through the schedule.
4704 MR. NOBLE: Commissioner Cardozo, if I could confirm at this juncture here that if the Commission were to grant us our request on expanding the inventory, the 12 minutes to 14 minutes, that would not affect our ability to continue to schedule these vignettes in those markets. We would not bump these out of the schedule for sales time.
4705 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: You guys don't give up on that issue, do you? Thanks for that.
4706 In terms of their schedule, to what extent does the local station get to make its schedule and to what extent is that determined from headquarters?
4707 MR. RUSNAK: When you look at the scheduling across the country if you will, there is a number of different issues to consider. If you look at the Vancouver schedule, for example, most of the U.S. programming would line up with the Toronto schedule quite naturally because both of the markets are in sync with U.S. network stations in the same time zone.
4708 Winnipeg and to a certain extent Regina and Saskatoon are a little bit different beast, so the composition of the schedule, I guess it's a team effort between the programming group in Toronto that has the responsibility for acquiring the pool of foreign and a lot of the acquired Canadian programming, but the actual composition and scheduling is done with input from our programmers in Winnipeg and Regina because they understand the oddness of the market, the time shift that occurs twice a year and how the schedule can best be constructed to accommodate that. It really is a group effort from that point of view.
4709 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. So you are dealing more with the timing of the issue than the selection of the program.
4710 MR. RUSNAK: To the extent that it is foreign programming or --
4711 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: The national.
4712 MR. RUSNAK: The priority programming is typically acquired at a network level.
4713 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. So for something like children's programming, is it possible that one region may find it's more popular than another, and I don't want to pick on children's because I know where Global wants to go on that, but any type of programming, do you have the ability to say this type of programming is doing very well in our province, in our community, either because people have that particular taste of them because the competition isn't there or something like that?
4714 MR. RUSNAK: Yes. We certainly have the ability to make those decisions and those recommendations. I'm not sure if I could come up with a current example of the genre that plays well in one market that doesn't play well in others.
4715 Much as our schedules are similar, there are a lot of differences throughout the day parts as well.
4716 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Now, I note that in terms of local news, you are looking at 9.3 hours a week for the licence term ahead. Is that correct?
4717 MR. RUSNAK: It's nine hours and thirty minutes, nine and a half hours.
4718 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Sorry, nine and a half hours. Okay. So it should be 9.5 in our calculations and then zero for non-news, but are we dealing with the same thing that Mr. Noble talked about earlier that some of the local may be a bit more soft news?
4719 MR. RUSNAK: That's right. I guess just by way of clarity, in the discussion yesterday afternoon the number that Commissioner Pennefather quoted of ten hours of local non-news programming on the CKND log, that turns out, to the best of the research I have been able to do since last night, that was a coding error and there was some acquired religion programs that were coded as local incorrectly .
4720 The document we filed this morning shows three hours and thirty minutes of local programming over and above the regularly scheduled news programming as part of our commitment going forward.
4721 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Is this a reduction in local news from the past, the nine and a half hours?
4722 MR. RUSNAK: No, it's not.
4723 MR. NOBLE: No, it is not. Sorry, Jim.
4724 Commissioner Cardozo, just to be clear on what our commitment is in the local stations. Out commitment is as a minimum, our current commitment as exists in each of those stations conditioned of licence, in CKND the commitment is for nine and a half hours of news related programming.
4725 At the moment we are over-achieving with three and half hours of non-news related programming and it is certainly our intention to continue with that.
4726 What we have submitted is a commitment to continue with our current conditions of licence as a commitment for nine and a half hours.
4727 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Do you find it a very competitive news market in Winnipeg?
4728 MR. RUSNAK: Winnipeg is a very competitive market. There are four local broadcasters there. I think the Commission would agree it has not been a robust market in terms of revenue generation and on a news and local programming level it is highly competitive.
4729 That's why we have had to be pretty flexible and pretty creative in how we have deployed our resources and why we have come up with vehicles like "City Watch" and "Nightlife" to complement the peer news coverage that we do as well.
4730 I think that CKND and the relationship that it has with the City of Winnipeg, you would have to go an awful long way to find a television station that has more impact on the city. It's partially because of all the activities we talked about that the station is involved in, but there's also activities that I guess are complementary to what the corporate group and the Asper family are involved in in Winnipeg as well.
4731 Whether it's on the Lyric Stage at the Manitoba Theatre for Youth, CanWest Global ball park, Winnipeg Gold Eyes, any event that is of consequence in that city has typically a Global Television signature on it or around it in addition to perhaps the Can West corporate involvement.
4732 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: On developmental spending, this is the information that was filed in the April 9 deficiency, you have talked about an allocation for Manitoba which is $50,000 for the first three years and $52,500 for the remaining years. Is that more than what you have had before?
4733 MR. RUSNAK: Yes. That's an increase. The previous number was --
4734 MS MAWHINNEY: Half I think. It's 25 I believe.
4735 MR. RUSNAK: Yes, around 25, so it is an increase. Then again just to reiterate, that development expenditure is very much built with the input of Monte Graham, the local station manager in Winnipeg. We really try in all of these areas to make sure it is the local station manager that is taking the lead and has the responsibility for these commitments.
4736 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: So with the Aspers living in town, you guys don't get any extra money. There's no special deals you get.
4737 MR. RUSNAK: I think what I was trying to illustrate is that there is a complementarity to the fact that the Aspers are there. And I'm not sure if you have had the pleasure of spending a great deal of time in Winnipeg. I get there at least six times a year, and there is a very strong presence that is partially the Asper family and their philanthropy but a lot of it flows through the television station. And there is a lot of things that the station gets to be involved in because of the Asper presence in the city and in the community.
4738 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: No, they haven't invited me to their home yet.
4739 MR. RUSNAK: Leonard, I think I see an open invitation.
4740 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Can we talk about that after the renewal stuff is done. It may depend on how that renewal looks as to whether I get the invitation or not I suppose.
4741 Can I ask you about your website. I was looking at it yesterday and I was looking at the various websites, the local station websites and it looked like something like about a half dozen local stories and a bunch of national stories, sports, weather and then community events. Is that about how yours goes and can you talk a bit about what your plan is as time goes on? Are you finding more and more people going to the websites?
4742 MR. RUSNAK: We are finding throughout all the communities that the number of hits is increasing. The Winnipeg site has -- I believe it was rolled out last fall and so it is still relatively new and something that we are building on.
4743 But in all of our markets there is a lot of complementarity between the website activity and in Regina and Saskatoon, for example, we are working with our colleagues at the Southam Newspaper Group as well, all trying to find creative ways to not only improve the content and thus the ratings, but all designed to help the revenue situation in those markets as well. So the interactive asset is certainly part of that as well.
4744 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And have you looked at kids' approach to the website or sort of a kids' site within the website?
4745 MR. RUSNAK: We haven't looked at it specifically as it relates to the website. When KTV was in its heyday, Manitoba, I think, was certainly a big part of the Kids Club and KTV and unfortunately experienced the same types of declines as we spoke to the other day.
4746 We haven't, to the best of my knowledge, addressed it particularly or specifically on an interactive level. I am not familiar enough with the rest of the interactive group to know if there are any sites specifically related to children or not.
4747 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Because at the moment there is still quite a paucity of good Canadian sites about news for children, and increasingly they are being asked in school to do research that can relate to news and stuff that is happening, and certainly websites is an area where they can get news that is tailored to children.
4748 By the way, it is also a matter of content and lack of offensive content that -- or dealing with subjects that you sometimes deal with in regular news that you might not want to have to describe in detail on a kids' website. I just mention that as something that would be interesting to see.
4749 MR. RUSNAK: It sounds like an opportunity worth exploring.
4750 MR. NOBLE: I agree, Commissioner. That is a good idea and I will pass that along to the CanWest Internet Group who are separate and distinct from our television operations, but nevertheless do rely on some aspects of television to help them with their content. But I think that is an excellent idea.
4751 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: You can buy shares from me in trust when I am finished with this job on that idea.
4752 We talked earlier with Ken MacDonald about issues of reporting. He talked about training and codes of ethics in terms of dealing with stereotyping. I take it your reporters at the local level have a chance to become familiar with that and are trained in that area?
4753 MR. RUSNAK: We have ensured that all of our news directors and reporting staff and everyone in the newsroom is aware of all of the codes, certainly the CAB policy on cultural diversity. I was fortunate enough to do one or two terms on the Broadcast Standards Council and are familiar with the codes that are covered by that and make sure that our management team and the journalists are all aware of that and all of our markets as well.
4754 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Just on that if I can just mention to Ms Bell, in terms of that particular code it would be interesting if you are prepared to -- if it's a code that you are prepared to place on the record, it would be interesting for you to file that as part of your plan if that is part of what you are doing in this area.
4755 That covers my questions on Manitoba. Was there anything else you wanted to add? I should mention, as Commissioner Pennefather, I was quite struck by yours and a number of the others in terms of how you deal with and reflect cultural diversity at the local level, and it is certainly something that happens a lot at the ground level and I guess you do reflect it quite a bit.
4756 MR. RUSNAK: Thank you for that. We do have great teams in all of those markets and I will pass that compliment down to them.
4757 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: A few questions on northern Ontario and Commissioner Wylie will be dealing with southern Ontario. So, Mr. MacDonald, I just got a couple of questions.
4758 Going back to the developmental spending and the deficiency that was filed on April the 9th, it is noted that it is 450,000 for Ontario going up to 472. Do you have any way of -- do you have any sense of whether some of that goes to the regions and I'm specifically looking at northern Ontario?
4759 MR. NOBLE: Commissioner, I will ask Loren Mawhinney on how she does allocate those monies.
4760 MS MAWHINNEY: Commissioner Cardozo, I can't think of anything off the top of my head that came out of North Bay or Sudbury. Certainly it has gone to Ottawa producers, but I can't think of anything in Espinola or anywhere up where I think you are talking about.
4761 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In the term ahead do you have any sense that as far as Ontario is concerned that you want to look beyond, you want to either inform people in northern Ontario?
4762 MS MAWHINNEY: We could certainly think about it specifically as part of the "Our Canada" series if we have got a documentary from that area. Most of the production activity, as you can imagine, comes from southern Ontario so that tends to be where the majority of our pitches come from.
4763 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And too much comes from Toronto when you look at Canada at large, so I guess we are sort of looking at how you move stuff. Not that I am against anything coming from Toronto but --
4764 MS MAWHINNEY: As Elizabeth MacDonald said, "My Canada includes Ontario."
4765 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Right.
4766 Okay. Can I just ask and I don't know whether it is Mr. MacDonald or who, I just want to clarify for the record who Ontario serves. Our records show that you have transmitters in Bancroft, Owen Sound, Ottawa, Midland, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, Stevenson, Peterborough, Oil Springs, Toronto, Fort Erie, Sudbury and North Bay. Is that about right?
4767 MR. MacDONALD: I think that captures it all. Yes.
4768 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. So are there areas beyond that that you serve by cable?
4769 MR. MacDONALD: None. We have program supply agreements in some regions, including Thunder Bay I believe, but other than that, no.
4770 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In the comments today, you talked about regional correspondent in northern Ontario. Can you tell us a bit more about what that person's responsibilities are and are they travelling around, do they do hard news, human interest as well?
4771 MR. MacDONALD: Yes, Commissioner. We have a correspondent, Mike Boothman, who has been with us for some time and he is based in Sudbury. He does travel through the region, north, south, east and west. He does a mix of hard news or spot news, events that are happening and also reflection stories, feature stories. A scientist who goes out in the wild and tags bears for a living, that kind of a story. A woman competing in the national curling championships in Sudbury while seven months pregnant. He did a wonderful piece on that. She was an excellent curler.
4772 So he does all kinds of human interest, feature pieces, serious pieces and is a regular contributor.
4773 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In a place like northern Ontario, do you use freelancers there as well if you can't get your reporter there in time or if he has got to be in two places at the same time?
4774 MR. MacDONALD: Yes. We use freelancers extensively. We do have a regional mandate. We can't be everywhere of course. So we do have to rely on them, not only in northern Ontario but in other regions of the province as well.
4775 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In northern Ontario, I think it was northwest, like around Kenora, are they getting the Toronto signal or the Winnipeg signal?
4776 MR. MacDONALD: I would have to perhaps ask Doug Bonar, who I think is still in the room.
4777 MR. NOBLE: I don't think our signal gets up there.
4778 MR. MacDONALD: Toronto.
4779 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: If it is any different, you can let us know but I will take that to be the answer.
4780 Okay. I just have one other comment on the Ottawa website and this is a personal comment.
4781 Last night after the hockey game, I walked straight from the hockey game to my computer and turned on -- and I thought I would escape from what happened in the hockey game. I went to the website and it was like less than two minutes you had the news that we were wiped out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. I'm all for instant news but sometimes if you can take a little longer to put news like that on the air, feel free.
4782 MR. MacDONALD: On the Ottawa side it was "Tragic Loss," Commissioner. In Toronto, it was "Triumphant win," the headline.
4783 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I'm glad I didn't go to the Toronto site. But thanks. Thanks very much.
4784 THE CHAIRPERSON: There is no joy in Mudville.
4785 I will turn the questioning to Vice-Chair Wylie.
4786 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Thank you.
4787 Since CHCH is west of Toronto, we will start with CHCH. I want to tell you right away that in looking at CHCH and Global as you got an indication from yesterday, since I tend to put my best knee forward quite quickly, my interest will be in having you convince us that you were meeting with something which may appear contradictory but that is that Global is regional and CHCH is local.
4788 In other words, Global has a long history of being a regional Ontario station and a bit of a battle with the Commission occasionally about the extent to which it is Toronto instead. And I am looking at the list of transmitters that you submitted at Schedule 1 and it is obviously everywhere in Ontario as a regional station, and CHCH as a result of the WIC purchase, the quid pro quo was that it would become intensely local.
4789 So that will be what will inform the discussion to a large extent is to see whether what you have before us is sufficient to convince us that that is actually what will happen for five, six, seven years, whatever length of time you get a license for.
4790 So CHCH, in your presentation today at page 5 you said you were adding 20 new hours per week of local programming from what it was before. Mr. O'Hara, I know that you haven't lost your enthusiasm for what you are doing from yesterday so I expect to hear a lot.
4791 And I would have thought that considering how much I stumbled saying over Hamilton-Halton-Niagara, the last time you were before us, that you would simply CHCH. And that has an impact because the minute you start talking about the Hamilton-Halton-Niagara region, I am wondering just how regional it's getting. So we will talk about CHCH as a Hamilton station.
4792 And I would like first to have you confirm that there will be 36 hours 30 minutes of what could be called local reflection programming of which 29 and a half hours, this is per week, of news, of local news and the rest will be non-news. Is that correct?
4793 MR. O'HARA: Yes, Vice-Chairman. Yes.
4794 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: The non-news programming will consist of what?
4795 MR. O'HARA: The non-news section of our initial launch, Vice-Chairman Wylie, is basically --
4796 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I wish you wouldn't talk about the initial launch. We are talking about seven years.
4797 MR. O'HARA: When one comes in from the storm we usually still have the weather effects upon us.
4798 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes, but I hope you will go further and say "This is what we are going to do."
4799 MR. O'HARA: The vision. Yes.
4800 We are currently 7.5 hours with regards to non-news local programming.
4801 Specifically it is comprised of "CH Straight Talk", which is a regional public affairs program; "CH Talk Live", which is a daily phone-in program; "New World Wine Tour", which is a co-production which focuses on the regional aspects of our area; also "Shop With Me" which is a regional consumer affairs magazine. When I say "regional" it does not limit itself uniquely in Hamilton but touches onto the regions St. Catharines, Niagara.
4802 "Road Stories" which is a music profile, a one-hour regularly scheduled program that basically focuses in on the music journey and lives and the minds of the music performers in and around Hamilton, as well as performers and celebrities throughout Canada.
4803 We also have "Fitness Zone", which is a regularly scheduled 30-minute daily program which is a touring local fitness show, falling into our initial plans of gaining high visibility for the Hamilton visual background to help identify the station throughout the fragmentation that existed over the years.
4804 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You want to make sure that we are as fit as Commissioner Grauer's region. Although it sounded sexier to say "Body Moves" than "Fitness Zone".
--- Laughter / Rires
4805 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It is a touring of fitness -- local fitness show, so it tours the Hamilton, Halton, Niagara region?
4806 MR. O'HARA: Vice-Chairman Wylie, it falls within the parameters which we set out in our initial stage, but as we look forward we will enrich the vision.
4807 But in our initial stage it was quite important for us to make sure that when viewers tune in to the fragmented world, that when they fall upon CH they have a visual icon that is recognizable. We have cameras on a tower, we have traffic cameras, we have a visual recognition of our station that is solid with solid branding. That was our initial first step.
4808 In working with co-producers who basically have already been signed up prior to the actual taking possession of the station, we then make sure that the philosophy would be to at least reflect visually the City of Hamilton.
4809 That follows through with many of the programs we do. "New World Wine Tour", "Shop With Me", it basically visually reinforces the fact that you are watching CH Hamilton.
4810 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So even the "Fitness Zone" would have your identification visible on it.
4811 So the shaded areas in a document that was given to us this morning identified as "Co-productions", that simply means it is co-produced with local producers and the station itself?
4812 MR. O'HARA: Correct.
4813 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And it still fits into a definition of local programming?
4814 MR. O'HARA: Correct.
4815 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: This morning in your presentation at page 17 you -- well, at page 5 first, you talked about 20 new hours per week of local programming. How much of that additional 20 -- or do you know the answer -- is more news, of the 20 new hours that you --
4816 MR. O'HARA: The initial -- the former WIC regime, Vice-Chairman Wylie, was maximizing interstitials and were able to complete their responsibilities with 17 hours per week. We have taken the responsibility further and have now gone into the realm of doing 32 hours currently of news per week.
4817 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: More than what is indicated here, 29-30?
4818 MR. O'HARA: Seventeen-32.
4819 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Right. But I'm looking at this morning's document when news has 29. Oh, yes, on the right you have 32.
4820 MR. O'HARA: Yes.
4821 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: We keep you two more days and we will really be sailing as it increases every time I get a new document. I like that.
--- Laughter / Rires
4822 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: On page 17 of your presentation you talked about the suppertime newscasts being reformatted to include a minimum of 90 per cent of local news coverage. I'm sure that's what you want to talk to me about, but I am going to ask you to give me examples of what would not fit within that 90 per cent and what does -- mostly what does not.
4823 Of course it is obvious that when we talk about Hamilton and whether it is a local station we wonder just how much is it Toronto instead of Hamilton.
4824 So what would not fit within the 90 per cent, because it is quite high, which is excellent, of course.
4825 MR. O'HARA: What would not fit in the --
4826 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: What would fall out of that 90 per cent because you wouldn't be able to say that satisfies the local news coverage characterization?
4827 MR. O'HARA: The first thing, Madam Vice-Chairman, that was flushed was the WIC philosophy that news gatherers would jump in their car, jump onto the Queen E and go to Toronto. That philosophy was flushed.
4828 There was a reorientation in our news department which took quite some time because of old habits and because news gatherers want to break the most exciting news possible.
4829 However, with our --
4830 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But they would have to go to Vancouver.
--- Laughter / Rires
4831 MR. O'HARA: However, with the installation of our new philosophy, focusing in on the local mandate and responsibility, changing the culture in the news department took some time, but once the missionaries were able to get the message out the religion caught on.
4832 We are very proud of the fact that our supper newscast does have 90 per cent of its news being local.
4833 What would not fall -- to be specific to your question, what would not fall into our newscast is basically anything that is Toronto local, anything that is -- if it is a second or third story nationally would not fall into our newscast. If it is a major national news item, it will be in our newscast and it will fall within the 10 per cent of our format.
4834 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Mr. O'Hara, you must speak with Mr. Tomik occasionally: Why do you think CHEK doesn't have this amount of local news? Or shall we ask Mr. Tomik?
4835 MR. TOMIK: You can ask me.
4836 I think, Vice-Chair Wylie, for a couple of reasons.
4837 Firstly, we really don't have complete control of the station yet and, secondly, when I reflect, I think if you looked at the local newscast, the five o'clock cast on CHEK today and the 11:30 cast, they are significantly local in nature.
4838 I know Ian Hassen, who is the News Director at CHEK is watching probably right now and he knows the instructions as of September 1 on.
4839 Vancouver Island is kind of neat because it is very contained, so he can have any news stories he wants in his news as long as he can walk to them, and good luck getting across the Strait of Georgia.
4840 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So you realize now that Commissioner Grauer is paying my dinner.
--- Laughter / Rires
4841 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: The next question is: You talk about people getting religion at Hamilton. What catechism should we require to make sure that you keep your saints saintly for seven years?
4842 Should we say you are now going to be bound by 32 hours of news, 7 hours and 30 minutes of non-news, for a total of 39 hours and 30 minutes for seven years, with 90 per cent local news coverage as defined during the supper hour. Would that be a prayer book that would keep religion going at Hamilton?
4843 MR. O'HARA: Vice-Chairman Wylie, we understand that it was a privilege as well as a responsibility to handle and take over the licence of CH. This is a traditional heritage station that is rich in its local roots. Unfortunately, it has been a marketplace that was disabandoned, it was left on its own, including the Niagara region.
4844 The logical following forward path is to enrich what we are doing now, not necessarily increase hours, but have the flexibility of enriching the quality of what we do so that we can be more recognizable, so that we become more visible within the communities and so that our position in the marketplace with regards to retail advertising becomes stronger.
4845 The new City of Hamilton is counting on CH. We know that it is a two-way street. The commitment is strong. We will survive and we will be very, very different from the other marketplaces in Toronto. I guarantee you that, and that comes from the people who work there.
4846 With regards to the corporate dedication to this project, I can only reassure you from day one that I have been blessed by the management and given a full mandate with green lights to make sure that we are serving the people of Hamilton and the regions and it will continue.
4847 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But you haven't told me whether my prayer book was acceptable --
4848 MS BELL: Can I just clarify that?
4849 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- as a minimum.
4850 MS BELL: Madam Vice-Chair --
4851 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes.
4852 MS BELL: Yes.
4853 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: As a test of whether you are keeping your promise that Hamilton will not become a Toronto station, or a regional station, which is what we want Global to be because that is what its mandate is.
4854 Of course Hamilton, through our good offices, has been able to extend itself into other cities way beyond the H's -- well, no, no. Near Hull we have one transmitter in "Hottawa/Hull" and in other places in Ontario, which makes it, over time, quite tempting when you have Toronto at your door and many transmitters through the province to lose your enthusiasm if it doesn't pay off quite quickly.
4855 So I'm talking about what is it that would give us some assurance that this program, if I can use that word generally, of "relocaling" CHCH will continue?
4856 MR. NOBLE: Commissioner, our commitment is contained in our condition of licence which was attached to the transfer of the asset when we transferred, which is 36.5 hours of total local programming directed at the Hamilton local market. That commitment will continue throughout this license term.
4857 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Would you have any objection if I added a line that that supper hour news had to be 90 per cent local?
4858 MR. NOBLE: Well, I don't want to say no, but --
4859 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Good.
4860 MR. NOBLE: We have to be careful here that we continue to respond to the audience, the Hamilton audience.
4861 It may be that on certain evenings there might be an event in a neighbouring community or a significant event in the rest of the country that demands us, requires us to change the format of the news.
4862 I think there could certainly be an expectation that we would try our best on average over the week to concentrate the news on local events.
4863 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: If it were added to the condition of license, would you be more comfortable with a lower count but still one that is higher than what one sees normally so that we know it is different, it is relocalized? It could be average, it could be lower than 90 per cent, but it would be one more test of whether over time there will be an objective look at whether this is maintained since it was an underlying quid pro quo for you -- for CanWest having two stations.
4864 MR. NOBLE: Absolutely. And we are very happy to serve that audience.
4865 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So is there something there that could be added that would ensure that it is certainly local news at suppertime?
4866 MR. NOBLE: Perhaps we could --
4867 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Get back to us on that.
4868 MR. NOBLE: Tomorrow, yes.
4869 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes, because, as you know, local news, depending on what appears to work, over time can become very little local and a whole lot of other news coverage and therefore you lose then that characterization.
4870 So get back to us as to what you think would be a reasonable objective addition to the 29 hours and 30 minutes.
4871 MR. NOBLE: Yes, we will.
4872 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: With regard to the supper news hour.
4873 Now, Commissioner Pennefather raised yesterday the comment at your specialty brief, page 53 which also maybe raises question marks about how local the programming is -- it's at the bottom of page 53 where you talk about:
"Over the course of the licence certain successful programming concepts might eventually migrate to other stations as appropriate for specific markets". (As read)
4874 What do you mean by "concepts"? Do you mean ideas or you mean a whole program?
4875 MR. O'HARA: Vice-Chair Wylie, I think that it comes back to a bit of the conversation you had with Mr. Noble concerning the 90 per cent format and Jack Tomik's reaction to the 90 per cent format.
4876 We are exploring different formats, new ways of presenting a television station that distinguishes itself from the other television stations in the fragmented market. Example, the people of Hamilton are the spirit of that city. They take pride in having their own culture, their own feelings, their own different individualities and they pride themselves in a positive sense in not being Torontonians -- they pride themselves in a positive sense in not being Torontonians.
4877 That being said, it's only a natural follow through that the station will reflect that and work hard to attain that objective in projecting a very positive very new shiny side of the city and that's our objective.
4878 Now, to get back to your question which I lost along the way --
--- Laughter / Rires
4879 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I will --
4880 MR. NOBLE: Maybe I can find it for you.
4881 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Probably you weren't qualified to answer.
4882 MR. O'HARA: The new formats are going to reflect how we do programming. So if you look at CH you will notice a difference in the personalities that are on the air. If you look at CH you will compare it to Toronto and you will say, "There is something different about that station". If you want to do a parallel comparison you could say, "This FM station programs and targets and skews this way. This other competitor skews that way".
4883 The unique underlying fact is that the CH look, the CH feel, the CH personality is a warmer, friendlier approach to television news and non-news programming.
4884 So when we talk about new concepts, new ideas, it's not basically showing up with a full-fledged, "Here you go, Jack, have a good time at CHEK". It's basically how we organize the format, the uniform, the jacket, the showcase upon which we can layer information that can be adapted to other marketplaces. Interactive telephone talk shows, we are learning about that now.
4885 One fantastic example about our show is we receive calls from Halifax simply because people see our show from Cancom. They are ex-Hamiltonians and they go, "I'm home".
--- Laughter / Rires
4886 MR. O'HARA: It works! Now, how to get that going with my friend in Victoria? I don't know.
--- Laughter / Rires
4887 MR. O'HARA: So let us explore --
4888 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You might have to move.
4889 MR. O'HARA: No, let us explore, let us innovate, let us try and put different things together.
4890 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So everybody is happy.
4891 MR. NOBLE: Vice-Chair, if I --
4892 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Chairman Colville was saying that it's obvious when we hear you, Mr. O'Hara, that it's not at all like Mr. Fecan.
--- Laughter / Rires
4893 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It's Hamilton.
4894 MR. NOBLE: Vice-Chair Wylie, if I can paraphrase.
4895 I think first of all, Patrick, we are going to put you on CH "Straight Talk" and make it an hour.
--- Laughter / Rires
4896 MR. NOBLE: As I understood the question, I think --
4897 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It's a better offer than CPAC.
--- Laughter / Rires
4898 MR. NOBLE: As I understood your direct question, the idea is that some of the programming concepts that Patrick is developing at CH with his local programming, we would hope to export the ideas if they work. If they are community-based style of programs that work in his community, perhaps they will work in another community. That's one idea.
4899 Another idea is that if he does develop a program for his market that is focused on his market, that may have application in other markets maybe we will export the program itself, but it would not be exported to replace existing local commitments at our other stations.
4900 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I was more concerned about the idea that an intensely local program that can migrate or be exported to Saskatchewan how local can it be? How recognizably Hamilton can it be if it can be nurtured to be migrated to Saskatchewan -- because they are even funnier than you.
4901 MR. NOBLE: The idea here isn't to try to design something for the whole system, Vice-Chair. It's just for Hamilton alone.
4902 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: That was my point, an acceptance by us that the Hamilton station could be the nurturing ground for programming that tends to be exportable.
4903 I suspect that is always tempting when you have many transmitters in Ontario and many stations everywhere. It's probably difficult to keep doing the local which is what we want to make sure you do for the rest.
4904 Now, I want to make sure that --Mr. O'Hara, you even had Ms Bell laughing.
--- Laughter / Rires
4905 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: She doesn't look quite as tense in the last half hour. I don't think I succeeded in doing that yesterday.
4906 I want to make sure that you understand that -- and the Chairman does -- this is not a departure from the TV Policy. The TV Policy said that we would not make requirements for news. We would look at a condition of licence for local news, but we would look at how the market is reflected. But I think we are all of the view that if we read the WIC transfer, there was a very specific case with Hamilton and CHEK which can be taken from the TV policy as such in that regard.
4907 So that's why I don't think we would have any hesitation in expecting perhaps more confirmation of what your intentions are in that market.
4908 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand. Did you want me to answer that question?
--- Laughter / Rires
4909 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Now I understand.
4910 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Let's go to Global now.
4911 In this case, instead I will be asking you whether I ought to be worried that when I look at your Appendix 5 which is attached to your supplementary brief, in pages 17 to 21, I believe, where you speak of Global. I find the words "Toronto" and "local" as well as "regional" and in this case we have the opposite concern about the temptation of Global despite all its transmitters which cover Ontario over the air -- there are many -- and they are supposed to cover all of Ontario.
4912 Should I be worried about your use of the word "local" here and there?
4913 MR. MacDONALD: Commissioner Wylie, no, I don't think you should. We have a unique regional mandate. We retain correspondents in northern Ontario, southwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario. We not only retain them, they file regularly into our program and in many cases travel. Our weather forecasts and our newscasts -- we have the most extensive weather and it's provincial in nature -- regional in nature, I should say.
4914 We cover Queen's Park for the province, and in that same vein we are very proud of "Focus Ontario", which is the province's longest running provincial affairs show which we have been rejuvenating to some extent and have further plans for it for the fall to make it an even broader public affairs show.
4915 But even in recent months, in addition to the various interviews with Ministers and panels and so on, we have taken the show on the road, for example to Walkerton to do a more in-depth treatment of the water crisis up there when it was acute. There are a lot of stories covered in the GTA and in southern Ontario absolutely, and that's evident on the air. But the other reality, of course, is that that region is the largest region in the province and there was a lot of news there that affects not only a large portion of our audience, available audience, but also affects the rest of the province and for which I think there is a lot of interest.
4916 Our key in regional programming is to provide as much reflection as possible and reflect some of those regions also to the rest of the province, in northern Ontario, southwestern Ontario, and so on, and we value that role. We know that they always depend upon us for that role and we will continue to play that role.
4917 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: If we look at your mandate as expressed in your last renewal decision and in earlier ones, it is usually expressed as meeting the needs and reflecting the concerns of residents of Ontario and offering news programming relevant to viewers throughout Ontario and, of course, as a reflection of this, and to your dismay over the years, the Commission hasn't allowed you to sell local advertising because your mandate is regional.
4918 When you say that you are involved in various communities, would that include, for example, getting involved in Ottawa, whether it's the Tulip Festival or some celebration or disaster in Ottawa? We have many of those.
4919 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Like the hockey game.
4920 MR. MacDONALD: The disaster of the hockey game, that's right.
4921 All of the above, Commissioner and many, if not most, of the festivals in Ottawa. We have done our show live from a number of them including Winterlude, including Canada Day. We always have a live presence at those events, but in addition to that in the Ottawa area we have an eastern Ontario correspondent who regularly reports not only on hard news stories in the Ottawa area, but on a nine-year-old Kemptville boy who raises $250,000 to build wells in South Africa.
4922 Again, those kinds of reflection and human interest stories that we think are an important part of the mandate we have.
4923 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Do you have correspondents or CanWest personnel anywhere else but in your Toronto installation?
4924 MR. MacDONALD: Yes, we have an Ottawa bureau with four reporters, producers, and so on -- and camera crews -- and the Toronto group and the three regional correspondents to which I referred.
4925 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You spoke about a typical supper-hour newscast in Hamilton containing a very high percentage of local.
4926 What would be the local in your non-national Global news items that would be from Toronto?
4927 MR. MacDONALD: I'm sorry, in our local newscast what percentage is --
4928 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Non-Toronto.
4929 MR. MacDONALD: -- not our local, our regional. Our 5:30 newscast how much is non-regional or national?
4930 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes, well --
4931 MR. MacDONALD: I would say --
4932 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: No, how much is Toronto?
4933 MR. MacDONALD: As opposed to other regions in the province?
4934 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes.
4935 MR. MacDONALD: That would vary on a day-to-day basis. Many of the stories that are covered in Toronto are provincial in nature as well. A Queen's Park story is a provincial story and we file a lot of stories out of Queen's Park. But certainly I would say at least, if not more than two thirds, or around two thirds is from -- and I would not just say Toronto, but GTA, southern Ontario are. Yes, there is more news filed in our newscast down there.
4936 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Now, it's with regard to Global that you spoke about a helicopter. How often does it leave the southern Ontario area?
4937 MR. MacDONALD: Not every day certainly, but we have had it covering an ice fishing rescue on Lake Simcoe, a ferry sinking in Tobermory. We covered a massive Highway 401 crash in Windsor; a Niagara snowstorm; a plastics factory fire in Stoney Creek; the Walkerton water tragedy, of course; Winterlude; Trenton search and rescue.
4938 I could go on and on. There is a list.
4939 The real advantage of that helicopter is in the ability to ferry resources as well, not just get aerial visuals. That is a key part of it. We are a visual medium. But we are able to get people to a story quickly.
4940 In one case we made a late-breaking decision to do our newscast out of Walkerton, and we actually flew the anchor up there with a camera crew as well, Beverley Thomson.
4941 So we had that ability to move quickly and to get to where we need to go.
4942 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: We don't have to impose a condition of licence about how much gas you have to consume. You will get around all of Ontario.
4943 MR. MacDONALD: We are just renewing the contract now, and given the fuel increases I looked at last week, I would hope you would not.
4944 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But that would be a test of how often you leave the Toronto area.
4945 MR. MacDONALD: That would, yes.
4946 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: From Ottawa, would you get involved, for example, in fund raising efforts and give yourself visibility in communities other than Toronto?
4947 MR. MacDONALD: Yes. And we do frequently. We are involved in a lot of activities in Ottawa.
4948 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Before discussing the hours of local news, maybe we can painfully go back to your promises of the last licence term where your commitments, according to the last information that I have, were short in 1998, 1999 and 1999-2000 of the number of hours of regional news on Global.
4949 The commitment -- it was not a condition of licence, Ms Bell -- was a commitment of 17 hours and 30 minutes.
4950 In 1998-99, according to the information that was sent to you -- and no correction was made to that -- it was only 13:50 in 1998-99 and in 1999-2000, 12:54 instead of 17:30.
4951 Do you have any information that is more recent than that?
4952 MR. MacDONALD: I do, Commissioner.
4953 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You were sent correspondence with those numbers twice, I believe, and responded and corrected some of the apparent problems with the logs. But that was never changed, that there was a shortfall of this extent.
4954 MR. MacDONALD: I would like to take a minute to explain that, if I can. Let me stress that the shortfall was in regional news programming. There was no reduction in total hours on air of local programming. I just want to say that parenthetically.
4955 There are two things. I am going to tell you why we made the programming decision we did, and then I am going to fall on my sword on another issue.
4956 We pioneered noon news in Ontario many years ago. It was quite successful. What we saw happening by the mid-1990s and later, more recently, is a decline in available audience during the day for most programming, including news. This is a result of changing lifestyles and specialty channels, and also more news options for consumers -- not just the Internet, but especially regional news services like CP24 and other all-news services.
4957 So the total available audience for all stations for noon news was in great decline. It was our feeling at that point that we should try something different, try to be innovative with our local programming, try to do some of the things we talked about in earlier conversations. So we did that.
4958 I am going to stop there for a moment. This is the part where I fall on my sword.
4959 We should have communicated with the Commission at that point, and we did not. We apologize for that. It was an internal matter. It was a fault in the system. That should not have happened.
4960 Having said that, I want to take another minute to explain what it is we did so it is clear.
4961 At that point we decided to launch another program in that time slot that would consist of information, arts, entertainment, lifestyle, give exposure to the regional arts community authors and provide other lifestyle information. It was a magazine style show, called "First Up".
4962 We did that for a year. Unfortunately, viewers did not warm to the show. So we switched gears again and went back to something that was a little closer to harder news and information, and that is "The Bynon Show". That was two years ago.
4963 We replaced "First Up" at that point with "The Bynon Show", which is an interview program which covers a wide range of issues and topics from politics to the arts to legal issues, and sort of goes behind the story and secures about 70 per cent of its guests on the program from Ontario.
4964 We had continued to code that program as news, and the Commission pointed out that it was not a traditional newscast and should have been coded differently. That accounts for the shortfall.
4965 I want to stress again, though, that there were no dollar savings involved in this exercise and there was no reduction in total programming hours, even though technically Ontario was offside, and we acknowledge that.
4966 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: "The Bynon Show" now is going to disappear as a regional Global or CII show and become a nationally distributed one.
4967 Am I understanding this properly?
4968 MR. MacDONALD: No. "The Bynon Show's" first market is Ontario, but it is playing in other markets as well. We are continuing to code that as regional programming, regionally produced programming or station produced programming.
4969 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: As part of the regional programming.
4970 MR. MacDONALD: That is correct.
4971 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I was a bit confused. The "Global National News", of course, that portion will disappear as a regional component.
4972 MR. MacDONALD: That's right. That is the other two and a half hours, Commissioner, off the 17 and a half hours. If you add the Bynon hours up, which replaced the noon newscast, and the two-and-a-half-hour recoding of what was "First National" with Peter Kent and will become "Global National News", become a network program, that is the seven and a half hours that are removed from the news portion of that schedule.
4973 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: "The Bynon Show", for the reason that it was not coded properly -- it was coded as news.
4974 MR. MacDONALD: That is correct.
4975 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It is now disappearing as news.
4976 MR. MacDONALD: And moved into regional.
4977 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But it will still remain what is part of your non-news regional, along with "Focus Ontario" and "Global Sports".
4978 MR. MacDONALD: That is correct.
4979 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And yet you say that it will be shown on the other Global stations.
4980 MR. MacDONALD: That is right.
4981 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So how Ontario directed is it?
4982 MR. MacDONALD: The show would certainly be watchable in other markets. Ontario is one centre for arts and entertainment, a big centre. There are a lot of authors and so on in Ontario who are interviewed for the show that would have interest in other areas.
4983 Again, where this program appears in other places it is not counted in any way as local production in the market.
4984 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It is counted as Canadian content --
4985 MR. MacDONALD: That is correct.
4986 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- everywhere else to satisfy the 50, 60 requirement but counted as local programming for the Global region.
4987 MR. MacDONALD: Correct.
4988 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: What would be the proportion of Ontario-directed interviews in the show to make it acceptable as regional?
4989 MR. MacDONALD: It is in the neighbourhood of 70 per cent.
4990 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: From Ontario.
4991 MR. MacDONALD: Correct, the interview subjects and so on.
4992 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: The advantage is then to use it during the non-prime time hours, or to use it as Canadian content other than priority programming in other stations.
4993 MR. MacDONALD: That is right.
4994 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: "Focus Ontario" is exactly what it says?
4995 MR. MacDONALD: That is correct. It is a public affairs program dealing with broad issues, political issues, provincial issues.
4996 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Then "Sportsline", is that your normal sports report, or is it Ontario directed?
4997 MR. MacDONALD: "Sportsline" is actually our sportscast, if you will. It has some sports interviews. But it is a roundup of the day's events in sports, the highlights, the scores, that kind of thing.
4998 We don't have a sportscast in our 11 o'clock news at night. That is effectively our sportscast. It follows the local news immediately, but it is actually part of an hour-long news and sports package.
4999 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It covers the whole area of sports. It is not necessarily centred on Ontario.
5000 MR. MacDONALD: No. But it includes Ontario highlights and scores, Ontario Hockey League, and so forth, as well as professional sports.
5001 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: What would be the test for you to allow it to be counted as your regional requirements or regional output or reflection?
5002 MR. MacDONALD: I think it fits within the category. It is regional, but I think it fits within the category that it is in.
5003 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Considering that your commitment for the last term of licence with regard to regional news was not met, what is your assurance that it will be in the next licence term?
5004 MR. NOBLE: Commissioner, perhaps I could pop in here.
5005 I learned of this shortfall from our commitments when we put these documents together and filed, and I recognized at that stage that there was a weakness in our system for tracking this stuff.
5006 In terms of our commitments and conditions of licence, what we have done is we have set up a quarterly review where all of the general managers who operate their stations independently report through to me and to Charlotte Bell quarterly on their performance on their commitments.
5007 At that stage we review it. If they are on target, great. Do they have any plans to go over? Great. If they are not on target, how are they going to fix it?
5008 There will be a strict monitoring system done quarterly by myself and Charlotte of all the general managers who are responsible for this. This issue would have been picked up as a result, so it will not happen again.
5009 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: With regard to Global, if I look at the document we were given this morning, we would lose the hours that were allocated before as regional and are now national. "The Bynon Show" would remain as non-news. The expectation from the new 17 hours, 30 minutes would drop to 13 hours, except that Bynon would just be moved to another categorization.
5010 So there would only be the hours replaced by "The National News" that would be reduced.
5011 MR. MacDONALD: That is correct, Commissioner Wylie. I will just put one caveat on that and say -- and I think this was mentioned yesterday -- that we are looking at developing some new daytime programming, and that may have an impact on that as it looks now in the fall. But it certainly will not be less --
5012 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Not in a downward direction.
5013 MR. MacDONALD: Not in a downward direction. That is correct.
5014 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I believe those are all my questions, unless Mr. O'Hara has something to add?
5015 MR. NOBLE: No, I don't believe he does, Commissioner.
--- Laughter / Rires
5016 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I was just trying to get a platform for myself to improve my capacity to get on one of the specialty services when my term ends.
5017 CKMI now à Montreal. We have the same concern about looking at the extent to which the station, which is again a regional station, discharges its mandate in Quebec and in Montreal and Sherbrooke.
5018 Again, we were given an update this morning in this document about your commitments in this regard.
5019 If I understand, there would be 22 hours and 30 minutes a week of regional news?
5020 MS ROGERS: What that is --
5021 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: No, 12 hours and 30 minutes of regional news. I apologize.
5022 MS ROGERS: It basically comes out to 18 hours of news -- sorry, 21 hours of news and one hour of non-news.
5023 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Which is -- I was looking at the current expectation.
5024 Right now, 21 hours and only one hour of non-news.
5025 Isn't "This Morning Live" a lot more than one hour?
5026 MS ROGERS: "This Morning Live" is coded as news.
5027 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: That is the difference.
5028 What about GNS? You don't have that any more?
5029 MS ROGERS: Yes, I do.
5030 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: On Sundays?
5031 MS ROGERS: It is what is written here as "Global News Sundays".
5032 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It is also coded inside the news.
5033 MS ROGERS: Correct.
5034 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And "Quebec Showcase"?
5035 MS ROGERS: "Quebec Showcase" is basically a time slot for our independent productions.
5036 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Is it a time slot that is available every week?
5037 MS ROGERS: Yes.
5038 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: We have 21 hours and one hour, for a total of 22 hours.
5039 Are specials included in that count, or would they be over and above that?
5040 MS ROGERS: They are over and above that. But we also have things, for example, news updates that we do regularly. We also do weather updates regularly that are not included in this, which probably add up to about an hour a week.
5041 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: We are in a bit of the same situation as with Global in that it is a Quebec station also with a transmitter in Montreal and one in Sherbrooke.
5042 We would like to hear you a little more about how you serve Quebec City which expects to be served because it is a Quebec station with a rebroadcaster in Montreal and, of course, there is obvious incentive to cover Montreal and obvious concerns by Quebec residents that will be more and more the case.
5043 You have four news bureaus in the Province of Quebec. Right?
5044 MS ROGERS: That's correct. In the province, yes.
5045 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And they are in Quebec, Sherbrooke, St. Foy and Montreal.
5046 MS ROGERS: Montreal. That's correct.
5047 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: When you do a particular story, do they work as a team or how do they get their input into what comes off the transmitters?
5048 MS ROGERS: Basically how it works, as you mentioned, correctly so, we have our four bureaus. We have a station manager who is a very -- a person who is extremely involved in the community in Quebec City.
5049 I come from Quebec City and everybody who speaks English in Quebec knows this person. She is the station manager and she has the responsibility to make sure that Quebec is represented in the newscast, in "The Morning Show" via the reporters that we have on staff in Quebec City.
5050 Then we have the Sherbrooke bureau in which we have a reporter and a camera person. That person is also the same -- he takes part more closely with TVA and assignments with TVA to get to know what the region -- what's happening in the region. He's part of the community to know what stories he should be covering.
5051 Then you have the Montreal and National Assembly that speaks for itself. They have a meeting every morning at around 9:30, all of the bureaus, to say what are the stories out of Quebec City that we feel we should cover. For example, there was a big health outbreak in Quebec City for meningitis. That's on top of the story obviously.
5052 Then you have the Brome-Mississquoi hospital fighting for bilingual status. That would come out from the Sherbrooke people that would say we think we should cover this, this is an important thing happening in our region and it has to be covered. That's how it works on a day to day basis.
5053 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: What is your position with CKMI? I was looking for the sheet but I couldn't find it.
5054 MS ROGERS: General Manager.
5055 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And where do you reside?
5056 MS ROGERS: In Montreal.
5057 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And it's interesting that in your conversation you always say "Well, we have to see what it is from Quebec City that should be covered". I would have expected the opposite. "What is so important in Montreal that the Quebec City transmitter should pass it on?"
5058 MS ROGERS: Sorry, I don't understand.
5059 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: This is a Quebec City station with a rebroadcaster in Montreal.
5060 MS ROGERS: Yes.
5061 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And the obvious relationship between the size of the cities would give an incentive perhaps to skewer to Montreal, but when I ask you how you decide what to put on, I would have expected you to say that the question mark was what from Montreal we cover, but you always said the opposite, what from Quebec City should we cover.
5062 It's a Quebec City station. It should be obvious that it would cover Quebec City and maybe some things from Montreal.
5063 MS ROGERS: You are correct.
5064 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Do you understand now?
5065 MS ROGERS: Yes, yes. Basically we cover -- approximately one third or two thirds of our newscast is Montreal based, Montreal based that interests the Province of Quebec. Then we have probably about two stories a night that are from Quebec City and about one story a night from Sherbrooke. Two thirds is Montreal, one third is Quebec and Sherbrooke.
5066 In the true way it works also is that we have a much bigger staff in Montreal. That's definitely -- we have probably about 12 to 15 reporters in Montreal. We have three reporters in Quebec and we have one reporter in Sherbrooke.
5067 It's not to take anything out of the regions at all. It's like the bulk of the English population is also in Montreal, so we try to balance it. It's a daily balancing act between what to cover in Montreal and what to cover in Quebec and what to cover in Sherbrooke.
5068 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And in the programming that remains non-news because you have put "This Morning Live" in the news as well as GNS. "Quebec Showcase" is described as specials and event programming, non-news, Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Would it be every week --
5069 MS ROGERS: Yes.
5070 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- or only when there is an event of some sort?
5071 MS ROGERS: It's every week, but it could be repeated. It's not necessarily original every week, but it's every week.
5072 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: What is the original to repeat ratio approximately?
5073 MS ROGERS: I do not know. I would have to -- "Quebec Showcase" --
5074 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Perhaps you can get back to us --
5075 MS ROGERS: Okay.
5076 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- as to whether it is more than one to one.
5077 MS ROGERS: Okay.
5078 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You have then on the document you gave us this morning a commitment that there would be approximately ten of regional programming.
5079 MR. NOBLE: The commitment, Vice-Chair, is for 18 hours. The current level --
5080 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Not what you are doing now.
5081 MR. NOBLE: Our current level is 22, correct.
5082 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes.
5083 MR. NOBLE: And that is a minimum, the 18 hour commitment.
5084 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But you are more comfortable with a commitment of 18 hours --
5085 MR. NOBLE: That's correct.
5086 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- than the 22 you are doing now.
5087 MR. NOBLE: That's correct.
5088 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: How long have you been doing 22?
5089 MS ROGERS: I would just like to mention to clarify the 22. What we do to provide to our audience an alternative in the morning is our supper hour newscast between 6:00 and 6:30 is rebroadcast in the morning. In that 21 hours you have the rebroadcasted numbers.
5090 We have done that since, to answer your question, probably I would say almost nine months to a year that we have been doing that.
5091 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And that's working well.
5092 MS ROGERS: It is.
5093 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So Mr. Noble will encourage it to continue no doubt. You of course are asking us for some applicants -- I guess CanWest if you separate us from CKMI -- are asking us to give them a chance to do more national advertising and you are asking us to do local advertising.
5094 You describe the reason for this at page 29 of your supplementary brief as the appropriateness of placing all of the English language shows -- this is stations in Montreal -- on the same footing, but you are not on the same footing, right, you were a rebroadcaster of Quebec City. You were a regional station.
5095 MS ROGERS: Correct.
5096 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, you were a regional station, the three -- perhaps I shouldn't call them a rebroadcasters -- the three broadcast, the three antennas have the same programming. It's regional.
5097 The first question I would ask is: Is there not an additional danger of Montrealizing CKMI if it has local advertising?
5098 MS ROGERS: Not at all. Our station manager in Quebec City is a very strong voice for Quebec City, an extremely strong voice. I'm personally bonded very much to Quebec City. There is no danger that Montreal will take on more. It's always every day a balancing act between the stories, Quebec, Sherbrooke and Montreal.
5099 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But when you go and attempt to sell local advertising in Montreal, wouldn't the advertiser wonder what's on the antenna and whether it's worth while and if it's a local advertiser, what good will it do him or her to be broadcast in Quebec City or in Sherbrooke? Wouldn't that be a natural question.
5100 MS ROGERS: Yes. For that question I would turn to Katie Fullerton.
5101 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And therefore my point is an incentive over time to move away from the regional and towards the Montreal.
5102 MS FULLERTON: I would just like to say that part of the reason that we put in this application to sell local is in response to requests that we have had from advertisers.
5103 I would say that in the past four years that we have been on the air, through our community events involvement, through charities and the involvement of our station management and station staff in the community, we have talked to that community, especially through our local programming, not only the early -- the evening news, but without a doubt "This Morning Live".
5104 We have talked to a community that has talked back to us. We are constantly approached by advertisers that are looking for new opportunities to increase their market share and increase their market. One of the ways they want to do this is to have more promotional opportunities which they can't do if it is sold out on other stations.
5105 The other thing that has been very clear is that they would like added visibility in the region, not just all the way through. They would like to know that for visitors coming in from other areas there is the possibility of gaining some market share from that.
5106 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: In your original application your forecast did not include local advertising, but in response to a deficiency question the answer to which you filed on the 6th of February you did give us some local time sales which are in the scheme of things quite low, ranging from year one $600,000 to year seven, $873,000. Correct?
5107 Could it be that you have underestimated those and that as a result the pressure on the ad market vis-à-vis let's say CBMT and CFCF would be greater than what one would conclude from those figures?
5108 MS FULLERTON: One thing I would like to make clear with those figures. We already do sell some retail advertising in relation to regional retail chains. That's where major sales come from. Those would include major retailers such as Canadian Tire, The Bay and that kind.
5109 Those are already in our figures. We are talking about the strictly local, very Montreal extended market area located stores.
5110 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. Local, local, local, although I hesitate -- you are probably too young to know all the battles we have had with Global in the past as to what is regional advertising, national advertising and local advertising.
5111 You are talking here about local, local of the type that you are allegedly guilty of putting on the air in Montreal, a bit like restaurants. Well, you know that -- I think you have actually conceded that there was some local advertising.
5112 MS FULLERTON: That was trade advertising and there were two restaurants involved only.
5113 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. Now, it's quite interesting the defence that CanWest lawyers have given you which is that you didn't get any cash for this, but would it be fair to say that you had what is euphemistically described here as a trade agreement, as a contract. Right?
5114 MS FULLERTON: Correct.
5115 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Would you agree that this is also -- that is contrary to your current condition of licence even though its contra?
5116 MS FULLERTON: My understanding is that the current conditions include regular advertising. In relation to these two restaurants, this was in non-traditional.
5117 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, it says that thou shalt not -- I stand to be corrected -- broadcast, I believe, local advertising. I would have a bit of difficulty thinking that even if you were to continue under that condition of licence, because we wouldn't give you the right, we wouldn't amend it, that you could go ahead and continue doing contra and say that's not local advertising if the person that you get the goods or the services from as a contra to the advertising is local.
5118 MS FULLERTON: It has been extremely limited up to this point.
5119 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: No, no, but that's not my question. Is going forward -- if we do not change your condition of licence, is it your view that you can continue doing contra with local, local, local advertisers?
5120 MR. NOBLE: No, it is not.
5121 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You know, I think --
5122 MR. NOBLE: I don't know the particulars behind this restaurant, Commissioner.
5123 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, it says here that restaurants appeared on the air waves but was not generating revenues for our stations. These ads appeared as a result of a trade agreement with CKMI. My question was for those of us who have heard all these terms, is that contra here?
5124 MR. NOBLE: It may be inaccurately described there. Perhaps it was the restaurant was involved with a news story or something and catering provided by Joe's Cheeses.
5125 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Or it could have provided CKMI with its Christmas Party.
5126 MR. NOBLE: I don't know what it was, but I think Jack Tomik -- is that correct, Jack, you know what it was? You have the details of that.
5127 MR. TOMIK: I don't have a lot of detail but I have a little bit more. Certainly this was a very minimal amount of money, less than tens of thousands.
5128 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, I'm not questioning the gravity of what may have happened. I am more looking forward to the future and to get an understanding from you that if we were not to change your condition of licence, contra advertising or goods and services for local advertising is advertising.
5129 MR. TOMIK: I believe Mr. Noble has already stated that we would stop.
5130 MR. NOBLE: That would be --
5131 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: On that basis.
5132 MR. NOBLE: Yes.
5133 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Okay. What is your view about where this advertising will come from? You speak about some of it being repatriated from American stations that Canadian advertise on the border stations. Do you have any numbers as to what that may be and tested just to the extent to which it exists?
5134 MS FULLERTON: Well, certainly in relation to start where you began the repatriation of dollars. In the last two weeks we did a monitor of U.S. border stations to get an indication of the amount of advertising, local advertising. And we do have a list of 16 advertisers and those are local advertisers, and I have the names here, that appeared on the U.S. border stations. And I think the fact that there is a good market to repatriate is the fact that each of those U.S. stations has a dedicated sales rep in the Montreal area.
5135 Now, that is just one area. We are certainly looking at based on the response that we got from advertisers looking for promotional opportunities that there is a way to grow the market. If they cannot get on air with the promotion at the time they need it because it is already -- that time is taken up at another station, this is a brand new area to grow the market.
5136 So we very much believe that we will stimulate the market in that area. There is likely that some of this could come from other media such as print and radio and then, of course, also there is the competition looking at CFCF and CBNT, that there would be some that come from those stations.
5137 But in general, I think it is really important that one of the reasons we are seeking this is that we have a unique opportunity in the Montreal market. And that is the fact that with our television station, with our alliance with the Gazette, with the website there and the fact that we have an alliance with at least one radio station through "This Morning Live," there is a good possibility of creating a new kind of sales package for the local retailer, a convergence package that I would think would bring new interest into the market.
5138 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You are aware of the general policy of the Commission that when you get local advertising you serve the local market. How much more would you feel bound then to serve the local needs of Montreal if you were doing local advertising?
5139 MR. NOBLE: Vice-Chair, as part of our regional mandate we are already significantly contributing to the local market in Montreal. Although the programming is directed at a regional audience, there still is a significant amount directed at Montreal just because of its relative size.
5140 If I could just make a general comment and then I might -- Jack has had experience with this sort of cross-border stuff in Vancouver because of the Bellingham market. He may have some insight into what that is worth in the Montreal market. But it is our assessment that the Montreal market is still very strong, very robust. We do have a regional mandate. As part of that regional mandate, we do direct -- our programs do have a significant amount of Montreal focus to it. So we believe we are serving that part of the local market.
5141 This request all falls into the area of how do we let our local stations who are suffering the ill effects of fragmentation, how do we get them -- how do we repatriate revenues to the conventional television system.
5142 That is one reason we didn't intervene against the ASN application in the Maritimes. They are -- they have a regional mandate. They have requested local advertising as well and we understand their desire in that area and we understand the financial burden of -- we understand the economic reality, I should say, of what is happening in the industry. So what we are doing is we are asking the same thing that ASN is asking. We do serve those markets, that we be allowed as a result to sell local advertising.
5143 Now, Jack, I will ask you if you have any specific comments on the foreign side of it.
5144 MR. TOMIK: Well, I think two comments and the first one is what Gerry just said, one more good television soldier on the streets is probably a good thing for the market.
5145 The second thing is the true local local that we are discussing here is a very small percentage of the business that CKMI is not doing at this point but would love to do because we are getting those requests. And thirdly, I believe recently there was a monitor done of local local type advertisers in the Montreal market and some 14 showed up on U.S. signals due to these sales reps who were on the streets from the American stations.
5146 Now, I know it would be hard to believe that a significant amount of money is going to come from the United States for this, but there is money there. I think truly it is going to be more of a stimulation of the local market caused by the specifics of being able to sell sponsorships into the breakfast show and those kinds of things than it is going to be damaging to the other broadcasters.
5147 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Mr. Noble, how long as CKMI been on the air? Is it three years now?
5148 MR. NOBLE: Under the Global umbrella in Montreal? I think it is four years.
5149 MS ROGERS: It is going to be four years in September.
5150 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Four years.
5151 MS ROGERS: It is going to be in September.
5152 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I am just looking at your predictions for the next seven years and at your confidentially filed 2001.
5153 Do you consider your performance in Montreal one that is a financial performance expected in for what is still a bit of a start-up? In other words, is this local advertising motivated by -- we always want to do better but that -- this station is just not performing as expected or as the general pattern of achievement financially.
5154 MR. NOBLE: I think as a general pattern of achievement we had certainly hoped to reach profitability a little sooner. There is no doubt that the results you are looking at there show a challenge going forward. So I would say that we are comfortable with the current position. We are comfortable with the past performance. You are quite right, we are striving to do better and to find new ways to continue to support our local commitments.
5155 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And if you look at your seven year forecasts, losses are increasing. Right?
5156 MR. NOBLE: Correct. And that is the revenue dilemma we find ourselves in.
5157 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And that is because of the need to maintain your performance to stay in the game.
5158 MR. NOBLE: Correct.
5159 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So your expenses increase.
5160 Thank you.
5161 MR. NOBLE: Thank you.
5162 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. That is it.
5163 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Vice-Chair Wylie.
5164 Well, Mr. Saunders, I feel like the fifth husband of the famous movie star on their wedding night. We know what we have to do, the trouble is to make it sound interesting.
5165 MR. SAUNDERS: I can assure you, sir, and I think you would agree that we have saved the best for the last.
5166 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Now be careful.
5167 THE CHAIRPERSON: I hadn't realized that you had to not only compete against CBHT and ATV but you have to compete against your friend CHCH with the folks in Halifax watching CH and phoning in to their talk shows.
5168 I thought perhaps I would take a little different approach to this and I would be interested in Mr. Noble's comment in response to Vice-Chair Wylie with respect to living up to commitments. But I thought I would start by asking you, do you report to Mr. Noble?
5169 MR. SAUNDERS: Yes, i do.
5170 THE CHAIRPERSON: So from a programming point of view, not from a revenue point of view, but from a programming point of view how would your performance be measured? Like I presume you probably have annual performance reviews on your performance as the manager in Halifax.
5171 MR. SAUNDERS: I think certainly from -- the ratings are a primary source of performance review as far as the overall performance of the station and the programming on the station. If you are referring to local programming, again, we internally spend a lot of time, most of our local programming and responsibility for local programming stays with the station, and myself and our news director and the people and program manager and I work together to increase the performance of the local programming with feedback from those above us.
5172 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that would come back to the ratings of the program? I mean when you are reporting to say how well we are doing in Halifax with respect to our local programming.
5173 MR. SAUNDERS: Yes. I think certainly in the discussions the performance of our local shows is certainly very important to Toronto and our head office and there is certainly discussions around that. But they have always left to us the responsibility of managing those programs and making them grow.
5174 THE CHAIRPERSON: In that respect then, how would a decision be made as to how much time to devote to local programming, whether news or non-news?
5175 MR. SAUNDERS: The decision would be made based on feedback. I can't speak for the history of the station because I haven't been in this position that long, but I can certainly speak for the time that I have been here and from a local perspective. I guess we present what we feel are our needs and trying to answer the needs of the Maritime provinces with the type of local programming that we feel that we can do and through conversations with people like Doug Hoover and Ken MacDonald. In regards to the news, we have general conversations around the needs and wants and trying to fit the needs of our community.
5176 They leave with us the greatest part of that responsibility, trust in us that we do the job. If they have concerns around the performance of some of our local programs, the conversation would come back on a consultative basis to, "How can we make them better."
5177 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or how could we make more. Like if you got a sense or what would it take for you to conclude that we are now doing 18 hours and 33 minutes of local programming, some of which is news and some of which is the five hours of the Maritimes Today. What would factor into a decision making process that you would have to decide let's do another half hour each day?
5178 MR. SAUNDERS: I think what would factor in is the resources that we have available to us to increase -- if we were to increase the number of hours that we would do, whether it be news or non-news, the first thing that certainly I would look at is the resources that we would have available to us in order to increase and with those resources can we put a product on the air that we are proud of and that really answers the needs and the wishes of the community. Can we bring something unique to the community that isn't already being done either by us or by another station in the community.
5179 THE CHAIRPERSON: And is there?
5180 MR. SAUNDERS: Pardon me?
5181 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is there?
5182 MR. SAUNDERS: Is there something still out there --
5183 THE CHAIRPERSON: Something unique you could provide to the community and do you have the resources?
5184 MR. SAUNDERS: Well, let me speak to "Maritimes Today," for example, which is a program that we have had in our schedule for the best part of the life of the station itself.
5185 And one of the things that we were looking at, because if you look at our schedule that we have -- our proposed schedule moving forward is we have retitled it. One of the things that we want to look at is, is that show has been in our schedule. The audience certainly hasn't been growing. So we are looking at trying to find unique and different ways that we can put content into that show that we can grow the audience, and we are in the process of doing that now.
5186 So are there any additional unique ideas out there? Yes, I believe there are. Have we found one? Can I specifically speak to one right now? No, I think we are in the stages specific to this program to develop it and to try and improve the content. I look forward to Mr. O'Hara's experience with CH and hoping that maybe something unique would come out of that opportunity. The same thing with CHEK for that matter.
5187 I don't presume to have all the ideas and the feedback that I would get from other Global stations in developing and things that they might do in their local market, I'm certainly open to.
5188 MR. NOBLE: Chairman Colville, if I may just -- I have challenged actually our general managers to look beyond what the current conditions of license are and to think of other ways that they can serve their community from a programming point of view. The challenge is to come up with programming that does focus on the local community, come up with programming that can be funded from -- that would be self-funding, that would get sponsorship or supported locally with advertising and that is the challenge.
5189 Barry is quite right, he has only been in the game for, I think, about six months and he is doing a fine job.
5190 In terms of the programming performance, we do look at it. We look at it after sweeps and we look at it when the books come out and we analyze and we compare and we see what the trends are and we try to establish, you know: Are we really serving our audience? Are we generating new audiences? Are people really watching our programs? What can we do better?
5191 One of the things in the Maritimes that we found is that last fall our biggest competitor in the Maritimes for audience was Global from Toronto. We are losing audience off our local station to audience on our distance signal that is being carried by the DTH operators.
5192 You asked about performance and programming performance, I just though I would tell you that little aside.
5193 It is essentially when we do -- in the Maritimes it was most traumatic. We had a huge falloff in audience because of our signal, because of DTH. That is an issue that together as an industry we are going to have to deal with eventually as we go forward together.
5194 I guess to answer your specific question, all of our general managers are charged and have the autonomy and the authority to go out within their budget and find whatever programming they find suits their audience, develop a new audience, provided that they stay within their commitments or conditions of license as they exist, and to go beyond it.
5195 I think historically Global was, for whatever reason, in the position of meeting their commitment and not going beyond it further. Well, I challenge RGMs to try to go beyond and serve the audience. If there is an idea and if it can be advertised or supported, we will do it.
5196 THE CHAIRPERSON: Does that challenge reflect itself -- how shall I say it -- statistically, objectively in terms of what you expect back in terms of their performance as managers and reflected in what appears on the screen?
5197 I mean, just forget -- setting aside regulation, just in terms of as a management structure and how you evaluate the performance of them, if you are challenging them to do that then I presume that you expect something back from that challenge as, "Well, your challenge is to do this and in two or three years I would expect to see some results of this."
5198 MR. NOBLE: That's right, we do. And then obviously the station's performance will be judged on the success of that programming.
5199 MR. SAUNDERS: I would like to make another comment on this too, that not only is the expectation from Mr. Noble as far as the performance of locally programming, but I would also like to comment on -- and I don't mean to speak for any other station here, but there is also a lot of pride involved in this, a tremendous amount of pride for the staff of our station and other stations.
5200 What you see on-air in all our markets that is produced by the local station reflects the station itself and the staff of that station. They take a lot of pride in that. Every day that they come to work they take a lot of pride in it.
5201 In our particular case -- I will use the news, because you are very familiar with the news market -- we compete against a giant that has dominated that market in news for as long as I have been there. That has been something that we have competed against for 12 years, 11 of which I have been there. So every day our news people come in knowing that they have to compete with that giant with a large amount of -- much more greater resources than we have.
5202 So I think it is really important that they look at the product they put on-air, although our measuring tool, whether it be by Mr. Noble or whether it be by the ratings and the market itself, they have to look at the achievement that they have and the pride that they take in the product that they put on the air, because that reflects them and the job that they do.
5203 Although we are all measured, whether it be myself with the team of management and the staff that I work with or me responding and being responsible to Mr. Noble, that is a part of the structure that we all work in, but also it becomes very important in the pride of the product that you put together. Quite frankly, I think that is more important.
5204 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I take your point at that. I was going to ask you about that actually because you have a huge challenge.
5205 I imagine you would like the opportunity to switch with Mr. Tomik where you could just say, "Well, why don't we buy the opposition and then let them run the station."
5206 As not the dominant one in news, how do you compete against that challenge?
5207 MR. SAUNDERS: We compete daily with that challenge. We try to find -- and some of the comments I made earlier in our opening remarks is, we have tried to develop a unique product that positions itself differently to the competitor and offer something different that would attract a maritime audience.
5208 Different people would have varying reasons on whether we had been successful with that or not. Personally, I believe that we have.
5209 Do I want to get better? Do our staff want to have higher ratings? Absolutely.
5210 To take a quote, a phrase from Mr. MacDonald or my good friend a the end of the table there, "It makes more money for us". That also is important.
5211 But I think every day we strive, our news people get together and try to develop a format that is unique to the market. We feel that we launched a new format in the fall that is unique and different with a higher concentration on weather, because we feel we have developed a franchise around our weather person. We feel that we have one of the strongest, most capable weather person in the Maritimes.
5212 We talked a lot about convergence over the last couple of days. From my point of view, I am excited about this opportunity because what it brings to the table for us is an opportunity. That is what I am really going after is the opportunity.
5213 The opportunity is that there are five papers in the Maritimes -- six actually, if you include northern New Brunswick, which I believe is a weekly -- that we now have as a resource to improve the content.
5214 We have had all kinds of debate today about the value of that, but, quite frankly -- and I will only speak for myself here -- there is a huge opportunity, as far as I am concerned, in our ability to improve the content within our news and as a result of that we can help again to expand that uniqueness of our news and what we offer.
5215 Some of these papers, some of the five papers that are in the Maritimes, are in markets that we currently do not have a news bureau in, Truro, New Glasgow, Charlottetown, for example. Great opportunities for us. Huge opportunities.
5216 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I wanted to ask you about that, because I wanted to get a better sense of how this convergence -- Mr. Kent mentioned this morning, I think, about the potato story, about the potato problem with selling potatoes into the U.S. market from Prince Edward Island -- and how you actually on a day-to-day basis decide, "Well, this story we are going to work with The Daily News in Halifax or the Guardian in Charlottetown", or whatever. How do you actually sit down and decide?
5217 MR. SAUNDERS: Currently what we are doing -- and again I will very much stress the point, we are in very, very early stages of this. We are learning. We are children and we are learning as we move through this process. And we will only get better at it because the stories that we have done to date we are quite proud of, but we are still learning and growing.
5218 But currently what we are doing is, our assignment editor in Dartmouth speaks to the assignment editor at The Daily News on a daily basis and talks about -- they communicate what stories you are working on and they look at opportunities that they see that may be where we could expand the content of a specific story where we might go and use the combination of both a print reporter as well as one of our reporters in doing the story. It could be accessing some of the content that they have or that they are aware of that they have maybe more expertise in that we can access.
5219 So I think it's on a case-by-case story-by-story basis and looking at all the opportunities that are there and which ones fit best where we can come together to make a better product.
5220 We are also doing it in the area of sports as well. We have a late-night sports show called "Sportsline", proud of the fact that we are the only independent broadcaster or only local broadcaster that has a specific sports show. The greatest percentage of that sports show is regional in nature.
5221 We do a lot of work -- I mentioned about the Quebec Junior Hockey League. The university sports is huge because of the number of universities that we have in the Maritimes. So we are now starting to work on a nightly or weekly basis with some of the sports reporters with The Daily News for example.
5222 We haven't moved out -- I keep mentioning The Daily News because of proximity. They are in Halifax and we are based in Halifax. We haven't moved out, as to a great extent, with some of the other papers. I have had conversations with Don Brander, who oversees all the other papers who is based in Charlottetown. We have had meetings on how we can learn from one another.
5223 We have started that the managing editor in The Guardian in Charlottetown and our managing editor who is responsible for our reporters in New Brunswick who is based out of Saint John, they are starting to communicate on a regular basis to look at opportunities of what is in P.E.I.
5224 The Guardian, for example, owns Prince Edward Island. The opportunity that it brings to us is that they have a lot of credibility on the Island. We can benefit from that credibility by Prince Edward Islanders knowing that we are working together because of the credibility that they have built over the years.
5225 So really it is a learning process and we take it one story at a time and day to day. We will only get better at it. There have been some bumps in the road, but we will get better at it.
5226 THE CHAIRPERSON: You take the approach of the regional newscast from Halifax?
5227 MR. SAUNDERS: For the greatest part of our news, yes. What we do is that we do a seven to 10-minute cut-in in our news, our six o'clock news package on a Monday-to-Friday basis. That seven to 10-minute cut in, what it does is that we pre-produce a New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island reflected package. The total content inside that seven to 10 minutes is New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island only. Obviously, on the other side, while that is airing we are live and the content is Nova Scotia only.
5228 So we target specifically to make a part of our hour-long news package specific to the Province of Nova Scotia and specific to the Provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
5229 THE CHAIRPERSON: But given the synergies that you may well gain from working with these newspapers to get perhaps more and better stories, either from your own people or through the work with The Daily News, the paper in Truro, The Guardian on the Island, can you see it as being conceivable that you could be doing a Nova Scotia -- Halifax, Nova Scotia news program and a separate New Brunswick one from Saint John?
5230 MR. SAUNDERS: Not at this time, no.
5231 MR. NOBLE: Well, that is an objective obviously.
5232 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is an objective?
5233 MR. NOBLE: Because I think that is a great idea.
5234 Barry is looking at me.
--- Laughter / Rires
5235 MR. NOBLE: I know where you --
5236 MR. SAUNDERS: I can't kick him.
5237 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm intrigued, because it was interesting when we talked to CTV the other day that regional newscast was characterized as a solution to a problem, whereas I take it you might see this as an opportunity.
5238 MR. NOBLE: I do. But it may not be a full half-hour newscast, maybe the seven minutes becomes 15 minutes, but absolutely.
5239 MR. SAUNDERS: I think that certainly any opportunities that we have to make this grow -- as I said, I really would like to emphasize the infancy that we are at with this and I can only speak from my experience.
5240 But certainly there are -- I guess I'm a positive thinker and I only look at the opportunities here. For me the opportunities -- and our staff in the Maritimes believe that the opportunities are great, if it leads into from seven to 10 minutes to 15 minutes.
5241 We believe that in the end we can produce a better product that we can draw a larger audience into our news package, then that is a business case that I don't think I have any problem selling Mr. Noble.
5242 THE CHAIRPERSON: It sounds like it.
5243 Given that, could you give us a sense of -- I don't want to use this necessarily in regulatory terms, but -- an expectation as to when we might see this? Again, we are talking possibly a seven-year license term here.
5244 Part of the problem when we deal with this, it is so easy to talk about today and what has gone on the last few years and what we are planning for the next fall schedule or whatever.
5245 It is a lot more difficult when we are in the position to be looking at a seven-year license term and try to get a real sense from you -- and Mr. Asper pays you to look through the next few years and you have your ideas as to what we can expect to see when we are sitting here in seven years time looking back and you say "Well, here is what we have been able to do."
5246 If you were projecting yourself in terms of this separate newscast issue, when would you think we might be able to be in a position where you would be doing that?
5247 MR. NOBLE: Again, it depends on audience reaction. Maybe that the Maritime viewers -- I don't see it this way -- but maybe that they would rather see a broad -- but you can tell me you don't -- Maritime newscast.
5248 I think what Chairman Colville would -- what I am willing to commit to, obviously, as part of this application is our current level. I suppose I would agree to an undertaking that as the world unfolds and as we get closer to the true benefits out of our print assets you could expect us to look at expanding some of the local nature of that Saint John newscaster. That would certainly be my desire, if it has audience impact, to do that right away.
5249 THE CHAIRPERSON: It strikes me --I mean, it was characterized as a solution to a problem. You have been struggling for 12 years to beat them essentially at their own game. That doesn't seem to work.
5250 MR. NOBLE: The three pieces of news are product, promotion and placement. You get the product right, promote the heck out of it on the rest of your stations and on the other assets, and if you have the timing right, whether it's up against or before or after, you will be successful. And we have the talent and the staff right now to give us the product we need and one solution is to use the papers to expand that.
5251 Promotion resources are now expanded with the print properties. Now it's just where we put it, and right now we are scheduling it presently where it is, but perhaps not forever.
5252 THE CHAIRPERSON: So we could probably expect to see a change within the next few years?
5253 MR. NOBLE: I'm not saying that we would change where the news is presently.
5254 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, not where it is. I mean just in terms of this separate focus.
5255 MR. SAUNDERS: Not to break into your conversation, but seeing as I am the one that is going to work with this I would like to have a comment on it.
--- Laughter / Rires
5256 MR. SAUNDERS: No disrespect to Mr. Noble at all.
5257 I think that -- and again I think you will appreciate this comment -- one of the challenges that we have faced against our competitor has been the fact that they have been doing it a very long time. The other thing is the uniqueness -- and it may not be unique to the Maritimes, we think we are very unique -- is the loyalty that Maritimers have. I guess it's one of the things that I have always believed in and one of the struggles that we had is that Maritimers are very loyal to the programming.
5258 In the case of our competitor, they are very loyal and have always continued to be very loyal to that program. That offers a very tough challenge because in order to break that loyalty, they have to make a mistake and their are pretty good at what they do. They have built a foundation there that they don't make too many mistakes, and that's why we have taken the strategy to try to create a uniqueness.
5259 So to suggest that -- and I am in no way in disrespect to the idea itself. This is an idea that we want to commit to and we are going to do it in two years. I am not ready to do that for the reason of the fact that it has to be unique, it has to be different.
5260 In order for us to competitively take that market from our competitor who is very well entrenched, we have to be really good at it and we have to know about it, and I think that a lot of further conversations should be had.
5261 The other thing that I won't go into a lot, but I can speak to it with a lot of experience, is the history of our station, the changes that it has gone through, and more specifically the changes that our newscast has gone through. What we are trying to do right now, and a part of our focus, is to be consistent because one of the things that we haven't been in the past with our news specifically has been consistent.
5262 We have been kind of all over the map and I think part of our problem -- and we have had a lot of discussions about this on the local level as far as the strategy that we have used and I believe that it's going to be very important -- in order to build loyalty, you have to be consistent, you have to offer a product to the viewer, in our case, who are looking for it. You have to offer a quality product, and it has to be consistent. Every time they tune in, it can't be different.
5263 I think that is going to be absolutely critical to our future and our ability to grow it. So not that I'm against ideas because I'm all for them, but it's really important for our future and our ability to grow to establish some consistency there because one of the things we struggle with is that lack of consistency.
5264 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess one thing we can commit to is we won't see a decline in the news over the licence term.
5265 MR. SAUNDERS: You will not.
5266 THE CHAIRPERSON: It could be an expansion or maybe a change of focus, but no decline.
5267 Let's go back to non-news. You talked about -- I don't know how to best deal with this between the two of you.
5268 MR. NOBLE: Barry can answer.
5269 THE CHAIRPERSON: I will go for it.
5270 Well, it's this issue of challenging the regional managers to in fact grow this business, if I can use that term.
5271 Again, I would just like to get a better sense, given that challenge that has been way down, what can we expect over the licence term then in terms of non-news local programming, and the response to that challenge.
5272 I mean, I presume you want some reasonable response from this.
5273 MR. SAUNDERS: I will start with that.
5274 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, Mr. Saunders. How will you respond?
5275 MR. SAUNDERS: I will respond to it in this way, sir.
5276 Our commitment based on the schedule that we have is that we have the hour-long show on the local non-news that we are committed to. The format that it's going to take in the content we are working on to improve on, but that commitment is there.
5277 Over and above that we also have the four documentaries that Loren Mawhinney has spoken to and talked about, which we are actually very excited about because we never really had this kind of opportunity before.
5278 We have been involved in documentaries as a part of I guess a condition of licence when CanWest initially bought us which we produced four out of the five, but the station has not ever been involved in initiating these. So we are really excited about those opportunities and the spin-off of those opportunities.
5279 Over and above those, one of the things that we have done over the years is generally out of our news we have produced half-hour specials based on something that we come across in our news content that we find that we can expand on and we are consistently looking at those all the time.
5280 So from a local non-news content, those are the areas that certainly I plan to focus on and develop from for the next seven years, and I think that's a lot on my plate.
5281 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let me ask you about cultural diversity both in terms of the hiring practices at the station, and I know we talked about the whole business of hiring practices and the code and that sort of thing, but I would just like to get a better sense of -- while Halifax is my home, I spend almost all my time here in Ottawa, so I don't get a chance to watch much local television. It's easier to watch CH in Ottawa.
5282 MR. SAUNDERS: Well, if we put it on satellite --
5283 THE CHAIRPERSON: I would like to get a better sense of -- because there is a large black community in Halifax, of course. I know their culture and heritage is there as well, and how does it get reflected both in terms of the employees at the station and on the screen and the stories you choose to do?
5284 Like I noticed in the "Maritimes Today", in your presentation, you talked about covering issues like aboriginal rights and black history. The specific three areas really that are behind the cameras, in front of the cameras and then the stories you do on programs like "Maritimes Today".
5285 MR. SAUNDERS: I will start with "Maritimes Today". In the case of that program, I think that's probably our biggest area where we have been very successful with diversity.
5286 Duane Low, who is the anchor of that show, really is excellent in that area and over the years has done a lot. I can supply you with lots of different stories that cross all ranges of diversity within the Maritimes, different types of stories that we have done. Actually I am very proud of that area.
5287 In the case of in front of the camera, our current situation is that from a gender point of view we are in the area of 40 to 50 per cent on a male-female situation. As far as the other groups, we are not that strong, and I will be very honest with you on that.
5288 Part of the reason for that is obviously a lot of people that work with us like to work with us because we have not had a huge turnover in staff. So that does not create a lot of opportunity to do that. That being said, when those opportunities come along, Charlotte has indicated earlier today -- Mr. Noble and Charlotte -- we have a five or six-point plan as far as we handle that internally in our hiring practices that we follow.
5289 Can we do a better job? There is no question in my mind that we can and we will, but certainly from that point of view it is our intent to get out and to work with a lot of the community organizations that they are involved.
5290 Some of the organizations that currently -- for example with the black community, we have actually what I feel is a very good relationship. We have been a sponsor of Black Initiative Community in Halifax. I think there was, I believe, the first North American Black Summit that occurred in Halifax last year and we were a major sponsor of that.
5291 Janet Stewart, one of our anchors, was the host of one of the events that took place during that summit. As a matter of fact, I believe we even influenced -- there was some involvement with both Montreal and Toronto that we were involved in and influencing that. So in the case of the black community, we have an excellent relationship in that area.
5292 In the case of some of the other diverse or ethnic groups, we are not as strong and we need to grow in that area.
5293 THE CHAIRPERSON: How do you deal with some of the issues that have been of concern in the area for the past number of years? I think it's perhaps not quite the problem it was a few years ago, but the problem at one of the high schools in terms of dealing with a number of racial issues, and it seems to me the media can play a huge role, particularly television, in terms of helping to create a better understanding of each other.
5294 I think there has been a history in the Halifax area of perhaps the white community and black community not understanding each other as well as they might.
5295 How have you tried to deal with those kinds of issues for the past number of years?
5296 MR. SAUNDERS: I wish I had our assignment editor with me because Carole McDade was heavily involved in that particular incident which was a number of years ago and she could probably speak to it much better than I could. But my recollection of that incident, which was quite tragic and really blown out of proportion certainly on the national stage, I think we played a major role in that because if my memory serves me correctly we got some fairly major positive feedback from the black and white communities on the fact that Global presented a very balanced story around that issue and did not take the viewpoint that it was a racial issue.
5297 That unfortunately is what it turned into. Whether it was really truly a racial issue or not, I have my personal opinion on it, and it isn't consistent with what seemed to come out on the national stage, but I felt at that time that we did an excellent job and presented that story in a very balanced way, and actually did not present it as a racial issue.
5298 THE CHAIRPERSON: I wasn't meaning to focus just on that story, but just in general about better understanding between the different communities within a community.
5299 MR. SAUNDERS: It's our policy that we follow the guidelines and our reporters and our news director clearly understand that they develop balance and are very sensitive to cross-cultural and diverse issues and it's a very important part of our day-to-day discussions in how we look at stories and how we present stories.
5300 THE CHAIRPERSON: When you end up picking up stories such as the ones you referred to for "Maritimes Today" dealing with aboriginal rights and legal issues around immigrants, and so on, black history programs. How do those stories get chosen in light of this discussion we are having?
5301 MR. SAUNDERS: Well, I thin it's a concentration. We look at those because of the fact that we have a very diverse community in the Maritimes.
5302 We are unique to every other station in the Global network in that we deal with three provinces and, quite frankly I don't need to tell you, but Nova Scotia is different to New Brunswick as Prince Edward Island is different to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
5303 THE CHAIRPERSON: So maybe we should go back and talk about news.
5304 MR. SAUNDERS: Well, it's a challenge we face every day to report and reflect the news content and cover three provinces and that is a challenge that we face every day.
5305 So I think that certainly in trying to reflect our Maritime community -- in Duane's case she really focuses on those areas. It's important to her and she has done a great job on it.
5306 As I said, if there has been an area in all the areas that we have talked about that we can say we have championed on, it is through that program.
5307 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I think those are all of my questions.
5308 Commissioner Grauer...?
5309 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I was going to say it is a non-programming issue.
5310 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you want to get your calculator out again?
5311 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: No. I am not going to try to count at this point in the day.
5312 I have a non-programming question, which is why I thought I would leave it to the end, with respect to the CIVT distribution as a distant signal issue. It is with respect to BCTV.
5313 I have a couple of questions I would like to ask you.
5314 The long-established agreement between BCTV and the local television stations in Kamloops, Prince George, Terrace and Dawson Creek allows the stations in these markets to insert separate local and B.C. regional ads into the CHAN signal, into your signal.
5315 You addressed it in your application and suggested that you may have to revisit the agreement in the event that another Vancouver signal were to be distributed in these markets.
5316 As you know, CTV is applying on behalf of the cable companies throughout the Interior to distribute CIBT as a distant signal. As I understand it, your concern is that the distribution of CIBT in those markets, subject to the agreement that you have with them, would cause CHAN to be less competitive respecting B.C. ads, if that is the summary.
5317 I wonder if you could elaborate on the arguments around the competitive imbalance.
5318 MR. TOMIK: Thank you, Commissioner Grauer.
5319 I think a couple of things to note -- and really, this is a competitive issue between the expansion signal so that there is equitable competition in terms of garnering revenue between us and CTV.
5320 I think the second thing to note here -- and I am sure you will go into some detail with the intervenors that are coming to you from Prince George, Kamloops and Terrace next week. This new introduction of this schedule via CTV into the Interior is going to have impact.
5321 Clearly we step forward, and I want to ensure that you understand our promise not to stand in the way of the CTV signal. We will not.
5322 We understand there will be impact, and especially there will be impact to our station in Kelowna.
5323 There were a couple of things said yesterday by CTV that I would like to do some clarification for.
5324 The first one is: Did they contact us for the help that we suggested we would give them in terms of transmitter site? The answer is yes, we did get a phone call. They requested information on three transmitter sites; and after doing some engineering tests we told them yes, with very little adjustment we could accommodate their needs.
5325 I think the second thing was a comment they made in reference to BCTV over the history that this was not really a schedule of CTV coming in. It was sort of insinuated that it was us coming in.
5326 While that is valid, I think we have to be clear that CTV has had 40 hours a week into those markets. With the whole VTV signal going in, it is the other 128 that is causing some issue. But that still does not mean we are against it.
5327 I think we have to take a fundamental look as an industry -- and you know my position with the broadcasters of B.C.; it is a very intimate one -- in how we can maintain local service in those small markets.
5328 It has to be a collective effort to ensure that that happens in the future without standing in the way of CTV.
5329 You can ask the question: Am I my brother's keeper? And the answer has to be yes. But please understand during your deliberations that my brothers are Telemedia and Jim Pattison Industries. These are not small companies. We have put forward plans to operate unprofitable stations for the next seven years.
5330 One other comment and I will shut it off.
5331 There is another partner in this issue in the Interior, and it is the CBC, because those are CBC affiliates. I hope that in the very near future we can all sit down and come to some resolution as a group that we can bring back to you that makes some sense, to ensure the service into the Interior.
5332 I have already had a meeting, not just a phone call but a meeting with the representatives of all of the Interior broadcasters. We have a few ideas. Really, what I want to say is we are there to talk and try to figure out a solution for that Interior service. That is what I wanted to say.
5333 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I still have a couple more questions. Thank you for that.
5334 Based on your understanding of the way in which regional television ads are sold, can you give us some idea of the estimate of the value regional advertisers place in reaching these communities involved?
5335 MR. TOMIK: I guess, from an economic and commercial point of view for those Interior stations, what happens now is this: National and regional advertisers have to do one of two things to get into that market, if they want to be in that market. What they have to do is come in, and nationals can come in by buying the market station specific, like CKBG in Prince George, or they can buy some BCTV, or they buy both.
5336 Regional advertisers are restricted on the BCTV signal to getting their commercials into that market, into Prince George. The local station then can resell the space that that commercial takes up.
5337 For instance, a retailer like McDonald's would have to buy Vancouver on BCTV as well as Prince George, the local station, in order to meet their obligations.
5338 The Prince George station can not only sell the CBC affiliated signal they have; they can insert into the BCTV signal and sell into that.
5339 For 30 years the Interior broadcasters have made significant revenues from selling in the BCTV signal. Is there going to be an impact to them? Yes, I believe there is, and a significant one.
5340 The 30-year-old agreement was to negate the economic impact of the BCTV signal into the Interior on those local broadcasters.
5341 One thought may be that the Interior broadcasters had the same ability to insert into the VTV signal for regional advertisers à la what happens with BCTV. I don't know. That may be a suggestion. But that is how it works.
5342 Now that VTV is coming in with another signal, national advertisers are getting what they would term spill. They are getting more audience than ever before in Prince George and therefore don't have to buy locally.
5343 Without commercial deletion for VTV, the regional advertisers -- and there is a long list, from The Bay, to Zellers, to the Government of B.C., The Lottery Corp., McDonald's, Wendy's -- will get spill in there also. Right now they are deleted on BCTV.
5344 That will negate their need to go into those markets and buy, because they will get the audience on this new signal that is being put in.
5345 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: If I understand it correctly -- and believe me, this is something I have struggled with for some time, trying to understand this agreement -- there are two issues. One is that right now the regional advertisers have to buy separately, and that comes in right now through BCTV and CHAN. There is no other way in.
5346 This is the only distant signal from Vancouver that is carried on the cable systems; correct?
5347 MR. TOMIK: Yes. Those regionals have to go to the sales department in Prince George and buy not only the Prince George CBC signal, the terrestrial signal; they also have the ability in that sales department to buy into the BCTV signal there.
5348 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Okay. They buy it there.
5349 Is the CBC arrangement the same? Do you know?
5350 MR. TOMIK: No, it is not the same. They operate a full stand-up CBC affiliate.
5351 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: If the local stations in these markets were able to work out an agreement with CIBT similar to what you have with them, would that address your concerns on a competitive balance?
5352 MR. TOMIK: Yes, I think it would.
5353 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
5354 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Cardozo...?
5355 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
5356 I have a question for any or all of you with regard to cross-media ownership.
5357 And this is not for you, Mr. O'Hara, I am sorry. You are not in this predicament issue just yet.
5358 And Mr. Rusnak, in Winnipeg I understand that you are not yet there. But if passion goes the way it will with the Asper family, you will face the issue soon enough.
5359 When you are dealing with news gathering at the local level, I wonder to what extent you will have a situation, or whether you have it now, with some of the smaller stories where it probably isn't worth both operations sending out a reporter, and you may have a reporter of yours filing a short story for the print media too.
5360 I was talking earlier, I think with Mr. MacDonald, about the Latimer case, and he said in something like that they would likely send more than one reporter anyhow because it is a big story.
5361 But in a number of smaller stories where you might cover a local issue, I wonder whether you might find that quite convenient where there are not issues of bias. Maybe there is a fire or there is a hospital closing. But then of course you get to issues of opinion.
5362 Do you see that happening in the near future?
5363 MR. RUSNAK: Commissioner, the experience we have had to date -- and I will speak about Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary and Edmonton -- is that the newsrooms have worked together on a number of different projects, but it has been more to develop what we would call enterprise reporting; to tackle the bigger stories and the bigger issues and improve the content that is flowing back to the television station and to the newspaper.
5364 I have listened in the last couple of days, and certainly the possibility does exist to at some point in the future have one person attend the news conference on behalf of multiple. We have not had that experience yet. Everything we have done has been designed to be project-focused and more on enterprise reporting to improve the content side.
5365 MR. SAUNDERS: The comment from the Maritimes is that, like Mr. Rusnak commented, a lot of our experiences have been on the more major types of projects. It is certainly one of the things that we have had conversations around, again because of a lot of the discussions we have just had about our particular competitive situation.
5366 So it is something that we have had discussions around.
5367 We have also looked at and have had discussions with The Guardian in Charlottetown on how we can share resources, that kind of thing, to improve our coverage in Charlottetown or in Prince Edward Island. We have already had some experience on that.
5368 The potato story was used as an example by Peter Kent.
5369 We are looking at it, but we certainly have not done a lot of it yet.
5370 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Part of what happens in news quite often is you hear on broadcast news there will be a story where they might say "as was reported in The Star Phoenix today, X, Y, Z".
5371 How do you resist the temptation to be quoting your own papers perhaps more often than the others?
5372 MR. RUSNAK: Speaking to the experience we have had -- and I am based in Calgary, so I am most familiar with that -- there are times when you do want to give that credit; and in fact you may want to expand upon it and have the actual reporter from The Herald appear alongside your host, either live in studio or in a double-ender, to add credibility and value to the story.
5373 I think the tradition of "as reported" is more a professional courtesy that extends to a lot of media to acknowledge that it is someone else's original material. I think it is quite common that you would see that in print as well as on air.
5374 Certainly with sports highlights, for example, you will note that it is "courtesy of CBC".
5375 So I don't think that is a promotional tool as much as a professional courtesy.
5376 MR. NOBLE: Commissioner, we are not going to let it sort of take over the news because then you are quite right. It looks like Global News is brought to you by a bunch of newspapers across the country.
5377 So you won't see a proliferation of it.
5378 MR. ASPER: Commissioner Cardozo, from the peanut gallery here, I think I must stand to defend, or sit to defend, the basic strategy and remind us what we are committing to and what is going on in the larger picture.
5379 We will cross-promote and, to the extent we can, we do say at the end of a newscast: In tomorrow's National Post or tomorrow's Calgary Herald you might see we are working on a story, and in fact maybe the reporter who wrote the story will be on the news that night.
5380 The point is that the story is different by virtue of separate editorial functions at these newspapers and the television stations. So whether or not it is promoted should not be a problem.
5381 In fact, we are exposing that story to more people than otherwise would have seen it and, therefore, I think providing a service to the community.
5382 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: But would you do it if there's two newspapers in the city, you own one and not the other, because in some newscasts, nightly newscasts, some nightly newscasts, late night local news, you will have exactly that, but they might mention -- they might have sort of a going arrangement with all the newspapers to let them know what the headline is going to be. Would you see yourself doing that for other newspapers as well?
5383 MR. ASPER: I think we would see ourselves not refraining from providing the courtesy if we in fact are borrowing or referring to a story that's in a Sun newspaper, but I will say we intend to cross-promote our own media to drive circulation in the newspapers and vice-versa, of course, to drive ratings in the television stations, so we wouldn't exclude other newspapers where we work together as we still may do stories with them, but there will be, I think I have to say, a slight favouritism or certainly a promotional arrangement between the two media owned -- to the media owned by CanWest in the market.
5384 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Do you see that as problematic at all because at that point you are going beyond the commercial issue of cross-promoting and it also gets into the editorial promotion of each other?
5385 MR. ASPER: I think what we are trying to do is drive ratings and circulation of the media and expose it to more people. I'm not sure how that gets into the -- it just exposes the news whether it's one medium or the other which is editorially crafted differently in doing different segments to different people.
5386 I'm not sure I understand --
5387 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I guess I'm thinking if it's in the National Post and it's one of those headlines. If you don't agree, would you still talk about it?
5388 MR. ASPER: Don't agree with? No, no. It has nothing to do with whether any one party agrees, any one person involved agrees or disagrees with the story. The cross-promotion part of the strategy is about selling more National Posts or causing more people to watch a Global newscast, which are newscasts and news products that are derived from different editorial functions and editorial management.
5389 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Well, what are the chances that you will be promoting the same story though? I guess I am rehashing some of the ground we covered earlier, but if you were top story, one of your top stories on television is similar to this headline in the newspaper.
5390 MR. ASPER: Clearly where we have worked on a story -- you will see "Behind the Badge" in Calgary a behind the scenes study or investigation into the police force -- they will be cross-promoted. The Calgary Herald, I think you even saw in our video a clip of it, that said they are starting a three part series with the -- Global News said they were starting a three part series with the Calgary Herald and you can see the story in the Calgary Herald tomorrow.
5391 The point is the story may be very different in the Calgary Herald than what it is on Global News.
5392 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Can I just ask your panel again whether you are hearing from your viewers either about what they see as the opportunities of this co-ownership of this consolidation, whether they are talking to you about the opportunities or the challenges or the concerns around this issue. Are you hearing about people's views on the consolidation from your viewers?
5393 MR. RUSNAK: Well, I'll pick up on the example Leonard just spoke about. We had a lot of very positive feedback from the "Behind the Badge" series, which is one of the major enterprise features that we have done.
5394 We also had tremendous viewer response to some of the other initiatives we have done recently, particularly during the Alberta provincial election. We were able to host and produce a leaders' debate which featured journalists from the Herald as well as -- the Herald, the Journal and Global Television. We had tremendous response to that.
5395 We also had an overwhelming response to our election night coverage which was able to again use those complementary resources to make the product a whole lot better than it would have been if we had done it on our own.
5396 MR. ASPER: Commissioner, also the evidence is not only anecdotal, it is reflected in the Pollara study that we conducted. I'm sorry, but I guess Angela Marzolini is not here to speak to it, but we did survey scientifically, as the 19 times out of 20 plus or minus 2 per cent or whatever it is, Canadians about these issues.
5397 I think you have seen it in the filing. If you haven't, please, I urge you to look at it. Canadians overwhelmingly supported the idea of news organizations working together to provide better coverage.
5398 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: That's the last word.
5399 Thanks very much.
5400 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Almost.
5401 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think Commissioner Grauer has some more.
5402 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I just meant on that subject.
5403 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: That's okay. Very quickly, I'm not sure that I got an answer to my last question. If you could estimate the amount of revenue involved in these sales of regional ads, the revenue impact on the station, the percentage if you don't have numbers.
5404 MR. TOMIK: I think, and we have done some preliminary studies on this that I have seen, I think you could expect impact on those interior stations in the neighbourhood of 25 to 30 per cent of the revenue.
5405 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
5406 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Grauer.
5407 Now, I'm mindful you want to correct something on the record or clarify something on the record, but first I will turn to Commission counsel.
5408 MS MOORE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have one question. It is relating to the licence for CIFG Prince George. I believe it's just a question of an oversight, but according to our records, the Standard Commission of Licence relating to the eight hours of party programming flowing from the TV policy has not been added to that licence. I'm wondering if there would be any objection to taking care of that through this process.
5409 MR. TOMIK: Fine.
5410 MR. NOBLE: Yes.
5411 MS MOORE: Thank you. Now, as the Chairman said, Mr. Asper would like to correct something on the record and then the Commissioners or we may have followup questions to that.
5412 MR. ASPER: Thank you, and I do appreciate, counsel, your agreeing to let me put this on the record in advance of the intervenors appearing so that they have a chance to fully understand our position and that there can be no misunderstanding.
5413 There are actually two things. One very small point, but it goes to Commissioner Wylie's questions earlier today.
5414 I want to state for the record that the "Sportsline" show in Ontario on Global is the most obscenely regional show I have ever seen. I lived in Toronto for eight years as a Winnipeg Jets fan, never would see the highlights or even hear about the Winnipeg Jets until after they had covered the Ontario Hockey League, 16 minutes of interviews with respect to the Toronto Maple Leafs -- sorry, predated the Senators, Commissioner Cardozo -- I think then the Ontario University Athletic Association Sports as well.
5415 I would think that any non-Ontarian living in Toronto would not view that as anything but a regional sportscasting, not a national sportscast.
5416 On a more serious note though, I do want to clarify something that I said and correct it because on the record this morning, today, I stated that we would agree to a commitment that a controlling shareholder would not sit on an editorial board of a newspaper.
5417 On reflection and given everything I have said today about the right of an owner to, just like any other Canadian, express their views in a newspaper, it struck me that the editorial board is something that is one of the tools or one of the elements of the creating of opinion in a newspaper.
5418 I think of examples like Catherine Graham, the controlling shareholder of the Washington Post, sits on the editorial board but controls 25 television stations.
5419 I would like to state for the record that we would not be comfortable and we would not make that commitment that a controlling shareholder would be prohibited from sitting on an editorial board of a newspaper.
5420 Thank you for that.
5421 THE CHAIRPERSON: Counsel?
5422 MS MOORE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5423 Just to clarify to be very clear for the record, when you say that you would not agree to a commitment not to have a controlling shareholder, do you mean controlling shareholder of the CanWest family?
5424 MR. ASPER: Yes, as opposed to what other family?
5425 MS MOORE: Just to be clear. In terms of who that might be, it's my understanding that really the controlling shareholder of the CanWest family is Mr. Asper Sr.
5426 MR. ASPER: Yes.
5427 MS MOORE: And so that is the person that you would like to have to be able to sit on the editorial boards of the newspapers.
5428 MR. ASPER: Yes, but I think that would extend to related parties in the sense that I would not want to see myself or David Asper or Gail Asper prohibited. I think the definition of controller shareholder takes different forms, whether it is the Income Tax Act or the Business Corporations Act. So I might want to think about to what that extends but I think it would be related parties to the controlling shareholder as well as the specific shareholder themselves.
5429 MS MOORE: Okay. So your position is that the controlling shareholder and related parties that are familially related to the controlling shareholder should be permitted to sit on the editorial boards of the newspapers?
5430 MR. ASPER: Yes, I would say -- you asked me if they should be prohibited from, and I said, no, they should not be prohibited.
5431 MS MOORE: I would just like to follow up on whether the controlling shareholder or any related party who would be sitting on the editorial board of the newspaper, whether they would have any ability to give editorial direction to the news directors, for example, of the broadcasting assets?
5432 MR. ASPER: Whether they would -- whether these persons, the controlling shareholders sitting on the editorial board would have the ability to give direction. Structurally, yes, they would.
5433 I have stressed many times or many times this afternoon and this morning that our principles, our balance and diversity and fairness and we are regulated under the Broadcast Act in that respect and therefore that is the basis on which we do not think there should be prohibition to the exclusion of only the controlling shareholder, but anybody else. Everybody else can sit on these but not the controlling shareholder just doesn't seem to make sense to us in light of all these other factors.
5434 MS MOORE: Well, I believe in our earlier discussion we weren't contemplating a scenario where, as you just said, everyone else would be permitted to sit on the editorial boards of the newspapers. My understanding was that your position was that TV personnel, which would include employees, directors, officers of CanWest would not sit on the editorial boards of the newspapers. Is that --
5435 MR. ASPER: Yes, that is correct. I'm sorry.
5436 MS MOORE: Do you think it is consistent with editorial -- the notion of editorial independence that you have described for persons such as Mr. Asper Senior or yourself or other related parties to give editorial direction to the news directors of the broadcasting undertakings?
5437 MR. ASPER: I think in practice the point is they don't. So I think there is commercial and structural separation of those two functions, notwithstanding that a shareholder may sit on an editorial board of a newspaper.
5438 MS MOORE: Is it possible that the draft code that is being contemplated could address a commitment whereby although those parties may sit on the editorial boards of the newspapers that they would have a commitment not to give that type of direction to the news directors, that the news directors would have the sole discretion to make editorial decisions.
5439 MR. ASPER: Well, I just want to be clear what you mean by editorial direction.
5440 If it means directing what story goes on the air or doesn't go on the air, that is one thing. The direction to adhere to certain principles of journalism is something we do intend to do and that may involve if there again, is a very strongly perceived imbalance in what our television media are reporting and therefore we are not in compliance, in our view, with either journalist principles or the Broadcast Act itself, we reserve the right to give direction to those news -- television news programmers.
5441 MS MOORE: Are you prepared though to address this issue in the proposed code with the distinctions that you see fit and would argue for?
5442 MR. ASPER: Yes, we will.
5443 MS MOORE: Thank you. I have no further questions.
5444 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I think those are all our questions then.
5445 Thank you for that clarification, Mr. Asper, and as you know I guess that was as much for the benefit of intervenors who no doubt we will hear from next week on this issue.
5446 I want to thank you, Mr. Noble, and all of your team. I think we have had an interesting afternoon and clarified a lot of outstanding issues with respect to the individual stations. So I want to, on behalf of myself and my colleagues, thank you all for your presentation and your answers to the questions this afternoon.
5447 So that will complete our work for today. We will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8:30 at which point we will go through the individual CTV stations. Thank you very much. We will see you tomorrow.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1810, to resume on Friday, April 20, 2001 at 0830 / L'audience est adjournée à 1810, pour reprendre le vendredi 20 avril 2001 à 0830