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 20, 2001
le 20 avril 2001
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages
Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be
bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members
and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded
verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in
either of the official languages, depending on the language
spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues
officielles, les procès-verbaux pour le Conseil seront
bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des
membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience
publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu
textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée
et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues
officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le
participant à l'audience publique.
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 20, 2001
le 20 avril 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
PAGE / PARA NO.
APPLICATION BY/ APPLICATION PAR
CTV Television Inc. / par CTV Television Inc. (Local Markets Presentation / Présentation des marchés locaux)
1042 / 5448
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR
The National Broadcast Reading Service Inc.
1296 / 6945
Hull, Quebec / Hull (Québec)
--- Upon resuming on Friday, April 20, 2001 at 0830 / L'audience reprend le vendredi 20 avril 2001 à 0830
5448 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to our proceeding.
5449 We will now turn to the CTV individual station licence renewals.
5450 Ms McQueen, do we turn to you first?
5451 MS McQUEEN: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chair, Madam Vice-Chair and Commissioners.
5452 My name is Trina McQueen, and I would like to introduce you to our panel today, some familiar faces and some new ones.
5453 Beginning on my far left are Pat McDougall, Vice-President and General Manager of CFCN, Calgary;
5454 - Fred Filthaut, Senior Vice-President, CTV West and Vice-President/General Manager of CFRN, Edmonton;
5455 - Mike Elgie, Vice-President and General Manager, ATV/ASN in Atlantic Canada; and
5456 - Robert Hurst, Senior Vice-President, British Columbia, and General Manager, VTV, Vancouver.
5457 Behind me, again beginning on my left, are:
5458 - Tracey Pearce, Legal Counsel from Goodmans;
5459 - Scott Lund, Vice-President and General manager of MCTV, Northern Ontario;
5460 - Mike Tiernay, who is the Acting General Manager of CJOH, Ottawa and, in reality, Vice-President of Retail Sales for CTV;
5461 - Dennis Dunlop, General Manager of CKCK, Regina, and CICC/CKOS, Yorkton, and General Sales Manager for Saskatchewan;
5462 - Jerry MacLeod, Vice-President of Operations for the Saskatchewan Division and General Manager, CFQC, Saskatoon, CKBI and CIPA, Prince Albert.
5463 At the side table, beginning on your left, are:
5464 - Ivan Fecan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bell Globemedia and Chief Executive Officer, CTV;
5465 - Robin Fillingham, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative officer of Bell Globemedia;
5466 - Kirk LaPointe, Senior Vice-President, CTV News;
5467 - Rick Lewchuk, Vice-President and General Manager, CFTO, Toronto;
5468 - Dennis Watson, Vice-President and General Manager of CKCO, Kitchener;
5469 - Louise Clark, Head of Western Independent Productions, CTV;
5470 - Johanna Lunn Montgomery, Head of Independent Productions for Atlantic Canada;
5471 - Elizabeth Duffy-MacLean, Vice-President, Strategic and Regulatory Affairs, CTV; and
5472 - Dawn Fell, Group Vice-President, Human Resources, Bell Globemedia.
5473 We have asked all of our station managers from across the country to be with you today, in order that you may obtain the best possible answers to your questions from the people who, every day, guide our local stations' programming and ensure that it makes a difference. They succeed admirably in that task.
5474 All of our CTV branded stations rank number one in their communities in their local news and reflection programming. Clearly, CTV has historically been miles ahead in its local news, but even with the addition of WIC to Global, CTV's total audience to local evening programming is as big as CBC and Global combined.
5475 The people here today are responsible for that achievement.
5476 They are responsible, as well, for a more profound achievement. Their programming actually makes a difference.
5477 CTV stations make a difference in the community. They celebrate the unique diversity of each one of Canada's special places. They are involved with thousands of activities, volunteer groups and institutions across the country. They work side-by-side with the people who have ideas, dreams and great ambitions for their hometowns.
5478 CTV stations make a difference by being advocates for their region at the national level. They ensure that regional issues are part of the national picture. They champion the best of their local talent.
5479 CTV stations make a difference by providing news programming that is uniquely inclusive of the community -- programming that offers the widest possible spectrum of formats and subjects, with only one common denominator: connecting with the viewer.
5480 Mini-docs, mini-series, town halls, panels, columnists, interactivity, debates, advice, demonstrations, health, food, politics, the arts, local heroes, technology and occasionally even comedy, song and dance. If it is part of the community, it is part of CTV.
5481 Kirk LaPointe has more to say about our unique approach.
5482 MR. LaPOINTE: Thanks, Trina.
5483 Commissioners, we are really proud that CTV is the trusted news source for the majority of Canadians and that our leadership position extends from the national newscast we provide to local news and reflection.
5484 At supper hour close to 2 million people watch our local programs. We work hard every day to provide that local reflection and to earn the trust and the loyalty of our viewers and, in this challenging and immensely competitive environment, we take nothing for granted.
5485 CTV faces continued pressure to be at the leading edge. It compels us to work even harder to tell the stories that mean the most. It compels us to invest in the latest technology and to innovate.
5486 At CJOH here in Ottawa, for example, there is new digital equipment improving the speed and quality in the way we produce our newscasts. CTV's Albert Faust has created an Internet-based system to deliver our newscast reports across our station group.
5487 The best digital equipment has to have the best content to make any difference. So we are experimenting with news-gathering techniques to deliver our reports in greater depth, and with more interactivity, on-line.
5488 Our local news is intensely local. These days, with international and national all-news channels available, the local story is our advantage. As we began to discuss earlier this week, we mean a lot of things when we talk about local programming.
5489 We strive for the sort of local reflection that speaks to the range of activities that form our way of life. We take the pulse of our communities; we take a pledge of involvement; we strengthen and serve.
5490 But our local commitment is not produced by a cookie cutter. Each station decides what is relevant to its particular audience. It selects the stories, the line-up, the techniques, the presentation. Each station is totally different, with one common thrust: to be relevant to all walks of life, to be an instrument of citizenry, to be the local reflection.
5491 Local is our advantage, as I have said, and we choose local stories as the overwhelming component of our newscasts because they matter most to our viewers.
5492 Part of what makes each program so unquestionably local is our local staff. Our long-serving anchors, reporters, and news directors have deep roots in their communities. They get involved. They commit to their communities and give back what they can to honour the loyalty our communities have shown our programs.
5493 As you will see in here, each station has its own personality and its own local reflection.
5494 MR. DUNLOP: Local news is central to how each of our CTV stations has developed its distinctiveness. At CKCK Regina we make a significant difference with our news.
5495 There is an infamous stretch of single lane Trans Canada Highway that has been responsible for countless horrific accidents and fatalities. In 1996, CKCK aired a special report which sparked a public debate about the role of provincial and federal governments in funding the widening of this highway.
5496 We followed the courageous battle of Joan Kortje, whose daughter and granddaughter died on this stretch of the road. By following her public appearances, her petition campaigns and many meetings with politicians, we were able to keep the public's attention focused on this tragic issue. We kept attention on the issue and on the highway over the years, as more and more accidents occurred.
5497 This spring, CKCK was there in Joan Kortje's home to hear the provincial government budget confirm funding to divide this section of highway by 2004. The long battle was over, and CKCK is proud to have played a role in helping to save lives.
5498 Here are some other examples of how CTV local news makes a difference.
--- Video presentation / Présentation video
5499 MR. WATSON: Commissioners, tragedies such as the ones you have just seen are difficult to report on. However, we feel that it is only by openly discussing these issues that the communities we serve will be able to cope with these horrible events and perhaps, more importantly, learn from them.
5500 Having said that, we didn't want you to get the impression that we only cover the heartbreaking side of the news, so we thought you might enjoy hearing how CKCO and CTV were able to make one Canadian's dream come true.
5501 Jimmy "The Iceman" MacNeil drives the Zamboni at the Civic Centre in Brantford, Ontario. Last year, the Zamboni Company ran an Internet contest to select the "Zamboni driver of the year". The winner would ride the Zamboni at the NHL All-Star Game.
5502 Jimmy was running a neck-and-neck race with Al Sobotka of the Detroit Red Wings. Then we did a story about the contest and Jimmy. Within 24 hours "The Iceman" received 4,000 votes and leapt into a 1,000 vote lead over his rival, "Big Al".
5503 We followed the story over the next week or so and every time we did an update Jimmy's votes would go up. A Kitchener resident, Mike Land, wrote and recorded an ode to our hero. We used it to create a video and Jimmy once again was in the lead.
5504 CTV National News picked up the story and Lloyd Robertson told all of Canada about our man Jimmy and his quest.
5505 Mr. MacNeil won the contest by a margin of 2-to-1 and over 100,000 Canadians voted for "The Iceman".
5506 Jimmy received the good news from the Zamboni Company over the phone while making a live appearance on Canada AM.
5507 MR. FILTHAUT: Our local programming allows each station to reflect the diversity of the communities it serves, diversity of culture, of beliefs, of language, religion and outlook. We are constantly re-examining how we do that.
5508 CTV recognizes the need to represent the interests and viewpoints of the different multicultural communities in each region.
5509 Nationally we are taking significant steps with diversity training. This initiative will lead us to an even better selection of stories, a more inclusive approach to news gathering, a wider recruitment for our workforce, and ultimately a deeper sensitivity to these communities.
5510 In each region, local stations are taking their own steps in both news and local reflection.
5511 In Edmonton, at CFRN, we have been actively working to represent and assist viewers in appreciating the diversity within our community.
5512 Celebrating our cultural diversity is a year-round activity in Edmonton. From the Caribbean beat of the CariWest Festival to the full spectrum of pavilions representing 60 countries during Heritage Days, CFRN is there to report on the ethnic mosaic that represents Edmonton.
5513 Our on-air personalities get involved beyond reporting these events. CFRN anchors regularly participate in cultural events such as the annual Black Achievement Awards. More than 60 Albertans have been honoured with the award since 1995.
5514 These efforts are an important part of what our viewers appreciate in their local service.
5515 MR. MacLEOD: When you think of cultural diversity in Saskatchewan, the needs and aspirations of the peoples of the First Nations are central.
5516 We are proud to produce "Indigenous Circle", a weekly public affairs show that brings the issues that affect Saskatchewan First Nations to all the people of Saskatchewan. With its advisory council of native elders, this program helps our stations go beyond the daily politics into the realm of day-to-day living for First Nations' people.
5517 We are also proud of our staff at our Saskatchewan stations who achieve so much daily, and sometimes in the face of immense challenges. Dwayne Bakke, an editor at CFQC Television is one such person.
5518 As a result of an accident, Dwayne became disabled, paralyzed from the waist down. When he returned to work he was as upbeat as ever. We worked with Dwayne to accommodate the new challenges he faced at work, making further modifications to the building and redesigning his work area.
5519 Dwayne is a remarkable human being and a valued member of our CFQC Television staff.
5520 MR. LUND: MCTV has had a dedicated aboriginal affairs reporter since October 1997. Kerry Assiniwe, who also anchors our noon newscast, regularly covers native communities, issues and new stories in Northern Ontario. She is a great asset to viewers in the MCTV area as a reporter, an informal teacher and a strong member of the community. She is also a role model for the First Nation youth.
5521 As a Master of Ceremonies for a media awareness conference in March of this year, Kerry broadened the connection MCTV has with the local community. The goal was to establish better dialogue between media organizations and aboriginal communities, and to promote journalism and communications careers for aboriginal students.
5522 These efforts, with the help of Kerry, are significant initiatives that we hope will make a real difference in northern Ontario.
5523 Reflecting diversity is a fundamental part of serving our communities.
5524 MR. ELGIE: CTV's local stations are proud of the comprehensive local news and reflection each station offers. But where there is a need in a particular community our stations go beyond that.
5525 At ATV/ASN, we broadcast "Breakfast Television" two and-a-half hours each day.
5526 "Breakfast Television" is a great supporter of the east coast music industry, profiling local and regional musical acts. In recognition of this, the show was awarded an East Coast Music Award by the music industry in 1999.
5527 There are other great examples.
5528 At CKCO, Kitchener, there is "Final Round", a debate show and "Province Wide", a news magazine.
5529 At CJOH Ottawa, there is "Regional Contact", a weekly arts and culture show, and "Hi-Tech Television", a news magazine
5530 CFCN Calgary has aired a number of documentary programs, including "Running On Empty", on overcoming personal crisis, and "Every Parent's Nightmare", teaching parents how to protect their children.
5531 The Calgary Stampede coverage is a significant 10 hours in prime time. And CFCN's "Friends Helping Friends" is a successful interfaith food drive.
5532 At CFRN in Edmonton, "Profit Line", a weekly business magazine show, and "In Touch", featuring community profiles, are part of the local program offerings.
5533 In Saskatchewan there is "Indigenous Circle" and "Farmgate", which addresses agricultural issues.
5534 At VTV Vancouver, "Robert Mason Lee" is a local talk show which airs nationally, starring the provocative Gemini award-winning host. Similarly, "First Story", an aboriginal news magazine show pioneered by VTV is also broadcast nationally.
5535 Commissioners, we also have an innovative new program called "Good Morning Canada". Here is the concept: Each station contributes its best feature and special items for a weekly show that offers an entertaining and informative picture of grassroots Canada. It is a showcase for local performers so viewers can enjoy regional comedy and music. There is a new host in each region.
5536 It is in Edmonton right now, and Fred has chosen aboriginal performer Helen Calahasen as host. This summer the program will move on to Ottawa. "Good Morning Canada" is a great opportunity for each station to produce a national program and for viewers to see real-life Canada.
5537 MR. LEWCHUK: Each CTV station has a deep and genuine commitment to making its community a better place to live and a better place to be. "CFTC News" is a community leader on and off the air in Toronto.
5538 Our evening anchor, Ken Shaw, volunteers at over 130 events a year. These includes duties for our Hospital for Sick Children Telethon, Variety Village, Ronald McDonald Children's charities and the Hincks Dellcrest Centre for Children's Mental Health.
5539 Ken and co-anchor Christine Bentley co-chair the Rouge Valley Health System's $34 million fund-raising effort. Christine also volunteers for Variety Village, Heart and Stroke and the Cancer Society.
5540 Reporter Karlene Nation is a member of the Canadian Association of Black Journalists and speaks with school children throughout the year, guiding young people into a career in journalism. Karlene also raises funds for books and computers for her old high school in Jamaica.
5541 Among other efforts, anchor Kate Wheeler spends 10 hours a month with the CNIB reading news magazines into recordings for the blind.
5542 The men and women of "CFTO News" are a vital part of the city and the stories they cover.
5543 MR. TIERNAY: The public face of CJOH Ottawa is our news programming and at CJOH News children are a priority as a matter of editorial policy. Ours is the first newsroom in Canada to make this commitment to children and their families.
5544 CJOH celebrates the success of our young people instead of dwelling only on those that get into trouble. Children are featured every day on our newscasts, whether it be on our weekly segment, "Children First" which touches on subjects from prenatal nutrition to teen depression or "Athlete of the Week" which showcases young people who excel at sports and academics.
5545 But we do more than just report the news. At CJOH, we are involved.
5546 Max Keeping was a founding member of Child and Youth-Friendly Ottawa, an organization dedicated to making the Nation's Capital a place in which children are welcome and their voices heard. Max makes over 200 appearances at various charitable and community events each year. And he isn't alone!
5547 From the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Telethon to the United Ways of Ottawa and Outaouais, to the Children's Aid Society or to simply collecting skates for children who might otherwise not share in the joy of a Canadian winter, CJOH employees are committed to making this community a better place in which to live.
5548 Now let's look at how some of our CTV stations are making a difference.
--- Video Presentation / Présentation vidéo
5549 MR. HURST: Commissioners, in addition to our deep involvement in our communities, our stations also provide a rich source of talent -- writers, comedians, documentary filmmakers. CTV local stations provide a national vehicle to bring these talents from their first spotlight in the regions and onto the national stage.
5550 These talented Canadians often first find their way to the screen with their stories at the local CTV station and through the regional development office. This way, CTV is able to reflect the abilities and the diversity of all regions to the national audience.
5551 At my station, VTV in Vancouver, Karen Troubetzkoy, an emerging producer, had a dream, a dream about a magical program for children and their parents, complete with talking animals. We shared Karen's dream. It was filmed in Victoria and became "The Magician's House". The program went from B.C. to the national stage and it aired in Britain and last year it won an international Emmy Award.
5552 Awards are great and we have won many over the years for our local programming. But we are equally proud to be essential contributors to big national stories.
--- Video Presentation / Présentation vidéo
5553 MS McDOUGALL: As we close our presentation, I will use the opportunity to tell you some good news that happened just this week. It's news that fits well into our story.
5554 We have just heard that Barb Higgins, CFCN's evening news anchor, has ben named to the Calgary White Hat Society. That's an honour given to just a very few people who have been outstanding in their involvement with our Calgary community.
5555 So congratulations, Barb, for making a difference.
5556 Each of our stations is as special and different as the communities they serve, but all of us are proud to be part of CTV. We have the opportunity to celebrate and contribute to our own communities, but we are also part of a national service that lets us connect those communities to each other and to the country as a whole.
5557 We do a lot of programming. Those considerable numbers of hours give us the scope to provide our community with the information it needs and the reflection it enjoys.
5558 We have the ability to be flexible in our formats, to experiment and innovate. That is the reason we can attract the best producers, journalists and crews to our stations. We have our choice and we choose those who not only have the talent, but also have the belief that making that personal contribution to a community is important and satisfying.
5559 We look forward to a new licence term. We have all talked here about the changes ahead for broadcasting, and we know change will come. But we believe we are in excellent shape to take on the changes and challenges and to use them to do an even better job for our communities.
5560 We commit to you that we will continue to make a difference.
5561 Thank you and we look forward to your questions.
5562 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much and thanks to all of you.
5563 Yesterday we started from west and worked east and we are going to do the opposite today, start east and work west.
5564 So we will start with ATV and ASN. I assume Mr. Elgie is probably going to take most of those questions.
5565 I want to start by saying that clearly ATV does an excellent job in its market of news programming, as you indicate in the video. You are number one and a strong player in that market and, as I say, ATV does a good job. There is always a danger with these sorts of hearings that because of the nature of the job we tend to focus on what we may perceive as being shortcomings and the successes probably don't get acknowledged as much as they should in these proceedings.
5566 So I want to start by acknowledging the good job that ATV-ASN does.
5567 I would like to go through --
5568 MS McQUEEN: Commissioner, could I just ask a procedural question?
5569 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
5570 MS McQUEEN: We were given a homework assignment by the Vice-Chair and I am not sure whether you wanted to --
5571 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Surely you don't want to be kept after four on a Friday.
--- Laughter / Rires
5572 MS McQUEEN: As usual, an acute observation!
--- Laughter / Rires
5573 MS McQUEEN: So we wondered if you would like to do that first or at the end or where you wanted to put that in the procedure. We are ready to go now, but it's of course up to you.
5574 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, perhaps -- you seem rather enthusiastic to go now, so --
--- Laughter / Rires
5575 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead.
5576 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Where is the apple?
--- Laughter / Rires
5577 MS McQUEEN: Well, what would you --
5578 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead.
5579 MS McQUEEN: Oh, okay.
5580 I guess to start, one of the things I think that we were discussing when you gave us the homework assignment was the whole notion of getting a sample news hour and seeing how it played out over the day and wanting to be very good students, we did not only one but two examples.
5581 I guess to start with that homework example, what we wanted to say was that Commissioner Pennefather asked us a lot of very provocative questions about local programming and non-news reflection and I guess we feel that our philosophy on that is a bit innovative.
5582 Our philosophy -- and this goes back to almost the start of the hearing where the Vice-Chair showed the chart and asked us about peak viewing periods -- and what we have tried to do, we think in a creative innovative way, is use our peak periods in local to put local reflection in. And to do that we have really tried to do two things, and one is to expand the range of news items that we cover to include the kind of local reflection that used to be in the smaller pocket programs.
5583 The second thing is to do a number of diverse formats so that that local reflection shows up. Kirk is going to lead us through the two examples.
5584 Mr. LaPOINTE: Thanks, Trina.
5585 With a bit of background to that, I just wanted to put a few things out before we get started with both Fred and Dennis.
5586 I joined CTV News only about six months ago and so I'm relatively fresh here still. But what struck me right away was how the philosophy of coverage was markedly different from what I had found elsewhere in the business.
5587 I think it was one of my old editors when I was a student who gave me the axiom of journalism which was that, "We cover plane crashes. We don't cover plane landings." I thought that was one of the most cynical lines I had ever heard, but it somehow stuck with me over the years because it had, in a lot of ways, coloured the coverage that I had seen.
5588 It wasn't until I actually involved myself in community journalism that I really began to understand that what communities expected wasn't simply the more negative aspects of their daily walks of life but they really expected you to tell the full-blooded account of what happens; otherwise you are not respected or trusted.
5589 What I found in coming here and what I think all of our station managers can talk about today is how CTV sees an actual virtue in embodying all the qualities of life in its communities. How it is not a narrow, negative window at all, but a really full-bodied account of all walks of life.
5590 So it has, I think, a broad and I would say healthy definition of how to create local reflection in its programming. It is not afraid at all to celebrate successes, innovation, enterprise, even the mundane things about life every day so that it can be involved in those successes.
5591 In its local reflection, it also doesn't simply wander into festivals and other cultural events and chalk them up as a duty or a ritual in order to then show them at times like these. I mean it really does, in fact, get there in advance to discover the talent, the artists, the creators, the interesting people who will shine later on at those festivals and be there weeks, months ahead so that the great budding artists of our time and the creators and the athletes and the researchers and so on are show cased.
5592 So that is why I think these programs have become number one because they provide the total picture. They are accurate and they are very fair reflections. Our folks get involved. But it's because they have credibility in their communities that they can get involved.
5593 So before I go to Fred and Dennis, I just wanted one more little point on this one, which was that we consider these programs, these local reflections to be a hundred per cent local. We consider them -- all of the things that we produce within in them to be locally created, locally relevant or of great local interest. All of the lenses, the filterers, the people who make the choices in these programs make them with the full understanding of who has been watching and who they want to attract as new viewers.
5594 So there is no sort of central system of determining how it is these programs will portray their communities or be relevant and expressive to them. They are done locally, and we are proud of the fact that we have that kind of strength in each of our communities to make those kinds of qualitative decisions to be outstanding contributors to the local scene.
5595 So why don't we start with a bit of a rundown and it will take a few minutes to walk you through. We asked our news directors to provide back some information to us in the last couple of days about, just a typical daily line-up at random to try to -- to show you how it is that we create that local reflection.
5596 So who wants to start? Is it Dennis or Fred? Do you want to toss a coin? Fred. All right.
5597 MR. FILTHAUT: Thanks, Kirk.
5598 Commissioners, to think that I actually walked by a basket of apples this morning and I could have brought each one of you an apple and missed it.
5599 I would like to explain if you were to turn on CFRN and watch us for a day, what you would see. The day that I am going to speak about, as Kirk had said, I was in discussion with my news director and asked him to send me the line-up of the newscast that happened on that day. So I am going to start with all of the local elements that we do.
5600 Our broadcast day would start prior to noon with three promotional spots for news topics. So these would be specific commercials as to what was going to be featured on the noon cast and the six o'clock cast today. We would also have a couple of weather and news updates prior to noon. There would be at least one "In Touch."
5601 Now, what "In Touch" is, I would like to explain that if I may. Probably seven years, eight years ago, I guess, is when we got out of doing what was our daily talk show. This was a morning magazine program, and as I recall, had about 12,000 people that tuned into that show.
5602 We found a better way of doing that reflection and promoting those community events and that was to create a program, a mini program called "In Touch." The advantage to "In Touch" is it runs throughout the day part, like it runs morning, afternoon and in prime time.
5603 So these groups that had exposures in that previous talk format to maybe 12,000 people, now had access to upward of -- on some occasions up to a 200,000 audience. The feedback we got after we had shortly started this was, this is a terrific move because on many occasions we were the most successful promotional vehicle they had for actually making their event a success.
5604 The kind of events that we would cover on "In Touch" would be the Shumka Ukranian Dancers, the Edmonton Chinese Cultural Society and their annual dragon boat races and the Suicide Distress Line. So these are the kinds of programs that would have normally been on a talk show that are now into this mini program.
5605 So that kind of sets up the morning. Then we would get into our noon cast and the noon cast, as the six o'clock and late night, are decided by the local news director and the local staff and their objective, mandate is to focus on local and reflect what is happening in the community. So let me give you an example of a couple of things that happened in our noon cast. This is from Wednesday, April the 18th.
5606 One of the first stories was a tragedy for eight youths that were involved in an accident just north of Edmonton. Three young people were thrown from the vehicle and unfortunately two of them were killed.
5607 There is also a story from one of our regions which was about the infamous Diefenbaker Bunker at Red Deer. This was something that the government built a number of years ago -- I'm not sure why -- but, anyways, it was a hiding place. I don't think that was from the Albertans. I think it was from some other situation.
--- Laughter / Rires
5608 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are thinking about using one of those sometimes.
--- Laughter / Rires.
5609 MR. FILTHAUT: We have done a number of stories on this because there have been actually many entrepreneurs that have looked at trying to do different things. It's a huge facility. Roller rinks, night clubs, whatever.
5610 Anyways, the decision has finally come down. They are going to literally, I guess, blow the place up. It will probably take them a long time.
5611 The third story I want to tell you about is actually what is happening here, which is a CRTC hearing and, of course, we did a story on the fact that CTV and more specifically CFRN are up for license renewal. So that would have been a great story for our local audience, right.
5612 We do blocks and three of the things that we are really proud of at our station are what we call our franchises. And three examples of those franchises are we do a consumer report and this particular day we were examining the perils of moving and it shows you how to avoid the costly pitfalls experienced by one Edmonton family.
5613 The story line, there was actually some people had moved. The moving company told them that they had lost their furniture and had to pay another four thousand dollars. In fact, our consumer reporter went and through some investigative digging actually found their furniture, along with a whole bunch of other people's furniture. So that is our consumer report.
--- Laughter / Rires
5614 MR. FILTHAUT: We also do a -- we have an entertainment segment and I am going to later give you a couple of examples about this because this is something that we are really proud of. But in this particular one we actually do live links quite often with our reporter, his name is Graham Neil, with particularly people in Hollywood and on this occasion on this day it was a live interview with Paul Hogan with the new Crocodile Dundee movie because it just was opening in Edmonton. So that was the entertainment segment.
5615 Our medical is our third segment. Because the University of Alberta does so much medical research, we have a great resource there and stories to be told.
5616 This particular day we talked about a little known but potentially very deadly blood disorder and it involved an Edmonton brother and sister and they described how dehabilitating von Willebrand's Disease can be.
5617 So in addition to that, on sports we had a South Korean marathon runner featured, because as you may know, August 2 to 10, the 2001 World Championships in Athletics is in Edmonton. The first time it is actually in North America. So this is a big event in Edmonton. So this marathon runner from South Korea was in to actually test out the track. His comment was, because this is in August and it can be quite warm in Edmonton, he thinks it is going to be really quite difficult. So it will be interesting. I guess it will be a test of endurance, this marathon.
5618 Of course there is weather. The one thing that we do in our noon cast is it gives us an opportunity to really do local reflection because we actually have -- we have about 50,000 people that tune into our noon cast to do some of those feature things.
5619 So on this particular day, this was about the Goose Festival, the annual Goose Festival. Nature enthusiasts look forward to this weekend at Beaver Hill Lake, which is just out of Edmonton. It is a sight that is described as sitting in the middle of a snowstorm with the sound of jet engines roaring past. Every year over 100,000 geese travel through this area en route to the Arctic breeding grounds. So that would be a sight to be seen.
5620 Quite often in that segment we feature local talents: artists, musicians, writers. We have such things as local nutritionists who talk about the opportunity to eat the right kinds of things to lower your blood pressure, eating well during pregnancy and reducing the risk of cancer.
5621 So then I will quickly move through the rest of day. In the afternoon there are many more news and weather updates. There is numerous "In Touch" segments and there are more news topicals. That gets us down to our six o'clock news.
5622 Oh, I should mention that because this happened to be a Wednesday, for 20 years -- and this was written in our supplementary brief -- we featured "Wednesday's Child." "Wednesday's Child" is a program that we have been producing and now airing and have been airing for 20 years and it features children that need to find an adoptive home.
5623 We are very happy to say that over the course of this, 700 siblings and single children have been adopted. This is worked in conjunction with the Alberta government and they are just ecstatic and Calgary has been running this program as well for the last couple of years. So it is a real neat little feature.
5624 Into our six o'clock news, a couple of stories I mentioned and we actually did our first story which was a live -- it was that accident that involved those teenagers and the two deaths. Then we also did a story on a west end fire that uncovered a pot growing operation. Two people in custody after police discovered 90 plants in the basement of the office. I guess they got them out before they went up in smoke.
--- Laughter / Rires
5625 MR. FILTHAUT: I got to go back and see this story because as you may know the Alberta government has been offering energy rebate cheques and actually there has been a fair amount of theft of these cheques because people go to the mailbox and just steal your cheque. So hopefully my cheque will be there when I get home.
--- Laughter / Rires
5626 MR. FILTHAUT: So we did a story on that, and that was under our consumer.
5627 This is interesting. This would have been under our medical at six o'clock. This was an exciting update to a story that we first told you about on CFRN, and that was Dr. Ian MacDonald's ground-breaking genetic research into macular degeneration. And today at the CNIB he told a full house about the latest research and the most common cause of blindness.
5628 As you can see, I have the whole script here from our news director.
5629 Our entertainment -- actually, this was really neat, because I had a chance to see this. Our entertainment reporter did a story on Camelot. The cities of Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg went together and purchased from Stratford the Camelot set -- props and costumes -- and it was a million dollars. It was great that these three cities could get together.
5630 I have never seen anything like this in Edmonton. I actually got to the opening performance of Camelot, and it was just amazing.
5631 So now, after a successful month's run, they are actually auctioning, by sound auction, all of this stuff from Camelot. It started Thursday at noon and it ends today at noon. So I guess I won't get back to buy that, so that's why they ...
5632 I could go on with lots of things, but I think that kind of gives you a flavour.
5633 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I think he should have an A+.
--- Laughter / Rires
5634 MR. FILTHAUT: I would just like to give you a wrap-up to that because --
5635 THE CHAIRPERSON: Please do. We would like to get out before four o'clock.
--- Laughter / Rires
5636 MR. FILTHAUT: Can I conclude with what it really looks like?
5637 Our local news, and the news hour, would probably represent 55 per cent to 60 per cent of what we would say is real local news, locally generated. The franchisees that I talked about would be 15 per cent to 20 per cent of that segment; sports, 8 per cent to 10 per cent; weather, 8 per cent to 10 per cent; and national or international stories of local relevance would certainly be less than 10 per cent, and quite often it is even as low as 7 per cent or 5 per cent.
5638 Late night our news is all local, because we follow the CTV national news, so there is no national news there.
5639 I guess I will end there, without boring you about all of the Edmonton Oilers' stories we have been doing.
5640 Thank you.
5641 THE CHAIRPERSON: People around here don't want to talk about hockey.
--- Laughter / Rires
5642 MS McQUEEN: I guess that's true.
5643 Dennis, I guess your job is to do the same thing, but a lot shorter.
5644 MR. WATSON: It is very difficult for me to be brief when I speak about the station, because I have so much pride for what we do, but I will cut it very short.
5645 Our late news is all local, as Fred mentioned, for the same reason.
5646 A day in the life of CKCO starts at 6:30, when we repeat that late news. We have found, at least in our area, that some of us are getting to the stage where we can't stay up until midnight, so a lot of people watch the late news the next morning. In fact, it has a 1 rating.
5647 During Canada AM we insert weather, I think, four times. We also do five-minute news updates at 7:25 and 8:25. They, too, are entirely local.
5648 As in Edmonton, we used to have a morning talk show. It had an audience of about 9,000 people. We dropped that show when we expanded our noon news and moved those types of segments into the noon news.
5649 The audience for our noon news is normally 65,000 people. So, once again, we were giving more reflection to more people.
5650 This week two of the stories we covered on the noon news -- one was on a hobby group that makes miniature villages, and yesterday we covered a new business that had come to town, Internet Food. You can order your groceries on-line and have them delivered.
5651 We also had a Waterloo University professor talk on pop culture and we covered a fashion show -- a local fund-raiser.
5652 Throughout the day we continue to insert news updates and weather updates, but our flagship show is the six o'clock show, and it, by its very nature, is more hard news. In this particular case -- and I will spend a few moments on this, if I could.
5653 Yesterday's show -- the first five stories were all related. I think this goes back to Kirk's point, that we do local stories, we do stories that relate to our local market, and we have stories that are of general interest.
5654 The first story was the shuttle launch. We covered the blast-off. We didn't produce the video for that, but we felt it was important because there is a great local connection for us.
5655 We talked about the space-walk mission, and then we brought it home by going to Stratford for a live hit. A number of the components for the Canadarm are made in Stratford. So we showed the workers watching the launch and the pride that these people had in their product going up into space.
5656 Then we went to Sarnia for another hit, because Mr. Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who will be making the space walk, is from Sarnia and he went to public school there. So we went to the public school where this person is a role model for these kids. He is a hero. We showed our viewers that connection.
5657 In that five-story segment, which took four minutes, three of the video pieces that we used weren't generated by us, but they really were of local interest, and I think they are local stories.
5658 We followed up with a story on the tainted blood update. Again, we have a number of people in our area who are affected by that.
5659 Yesterday there was a throne speech from Queen's Park, and of course our residents would be very interested in that. We covered it.
5660 Back to some local stories.
5661 We closed out the first segment of our news with a feature called "Street Talk". We do this every night on our news -- we do it at least twice -- and this is to help -- again, back to that talk show in the morning -- give a voice to the people on the street.
5662 We go to them with a topic of the day, and this day it was an easy question for us. We asked them if they would like to go into space.
5663 We also featured that question on our website. We encourage people to e-mail us. They can phone in. We give out phone numbers. And we also have a web poll, so that we can interact with the people and get their opinions.
5664 When we run a web poll, it is not unusual for us to get 500 or 600 responses. The highest response we have had has been 1,500.
5665 As we proceed through the rest of the newscast, we also have features. One of our best features is a thing called "The Beat". It is an entertainment segment that we do. This week some of the stories we covered included The Proclaimers. They are an internationally famous Scottish group, but they were in Kitchener shooting a video. That was why we covered that story.
5666 We covered the Drayton Festival, which is one of the most successful local theatre groups in Ontario, and in fact those people wrote a letter of intervention in support of our licence renewal. It was very nice of them to do so.
5667 We also gave ourselves a shameless plus for "The Weakest Link".
5668 We mentioned that there is a cinema in Waterloo that plays old movies. This week they are playing "A Hard Day's Night" with the Beatles. Some of us remember seeing that when it was first released.
--- Laughter / Rires
5669 MR. WATSON: Not me, though.
5670 We also talked about a musical called "Kilroy was Here", which is being held in a place called Elmira.
5671 We cover the club and concert scene. None of these names will mean much to you, but we mentioned that Pat Powers would be on stage at Johnnie Fiasco's; that Black Mustard is in Guelph; and the Lester Quitzau Very Electric Trio was also playing.
5672 I think you can get the flavour for what it is we are covering; that we really are reflecting our communities.
5673 MS McQUEEN: Thank you. That is our homework assignment.
5674 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess the Vice-Chair has already given you an A+, but I don't know whether that satisfies the --
5675 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It is helpful in getting percentages of how much local is local, and we expect that it is similar in most markets.
5676 I, personally, would also be interested to know, financially, how much money is spent in the local scene, but that may be difficult.
5677 MS McQUEEN: Do you mean the budgets for the local --
5678 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Because the budgets we have generally show newsline, and generally your block of 15.5 hours, I suppose, would go into the news budget, wouldn't it?
5679 MS McQUEEN: Yes, it would.
5680 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: We will get to it when we get to Ontario, but it is also interesting to be able to gear the extent to which there is reasonable local reflection -- the resources that are used for it as well.
5681 Back to you, Mr. Chairman.
5682 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess this issue raises a question in my mind of a general issue.
5683 I don't know whether this was all to give Mr. Elgie more time to think about potential questions and answers, but it was very effective if that was the purpose.
--- Laughter / Rires
5684 THE CHAIRPERSON: It raised a question with me. We discussed earlier in the week the notion about non-news programming, and I guess part of this assignment was to focus on the distinction between news and non-news, and I guess it is an issue that has come to my mind as we have discussed this with you and Global over the week, about how we categorize and how you budget for some of this programming.
5685 It seems to me that the nature of local television has perhaps changed somewhat over the years, in the sense that some of the notion of this local non-news programming was more a half-hour entertainment or variety show that might be local to the community, and that sort of thing is not done very much any more. A lot of this local reflection stuff that is done today is perhaps what might be broadly or generally characterized as news and information and public affairs programming, so it ends up getting categorized as news. And as you have just indicated, you budget it, for the most part perhaps, as news.
5686 We talked yesterday with Global about some of the coding issues, in terms of satisfying the Commission's coding concerns.
5687 Does that raise a question in your mind, in terms of how the Commission is looking at this programming and how we treat it, and it ends up raising an issue about drawing a distinction between the news and non-news and how we categorize this programming?
5688 MS McQUEEN: News is a category, I guess, which can be either defined very narrowly or defined very broadly to include the kind of local reflection of events and ideas and issues in the community.
5689 As far as the coding goes, obviously, we wouldn't think it would be useful or productive for either of us to try to go down what is in a local hour and code it in separate categories. We could do that -- human interest, information, and all of the other categories that you have -- but I don't know whether that would be a useful --
5690 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am not trying to drive you to some sort of bureaucratic solution. What I am getting at is, I take it that it would be your view that we are satisfying a lot of local reflection concerns that the Commission has, whether it ends up getting categorized as news or not.
5691 MS McQUEEN: Right.
5692 THE CHAIRPERSON: I would take it that your view is, that's really irrelevant.
5693 MS McQUEEN: I guess my view is that it would be nice if there was a way of explaining to the Commission on a regular basis how we do this local reflection and how it is part of the local hours that we put on, but I am not sure how we could do that, except with what you were calling a very bureaucratic process.
5694 I think, maybe, an overall philosophical statement. You wouldn't get our lineups. I am not sure exactly what the mechanism would be, except that our belief is that the best way to do this -- not the only way, but probably the best way to do this local reflection, to have the talent and the performers and the debates and the specialized information -- is to put it in the news hour. Programs outside the news hour will, obviously, be coded as they will be, but maybe there is a way that your category of news could be defined in local terms some other way, so there would be an opportunity to do that.
5695 But I am really floundering in a regulatory sea here. I should just stop.
--- Laughter / Rires
5696 THE CHAIRPERSON: I wasn't trying to "flounder" anybody into a regulatory sea.
5697 Let's take ATV as an example, if we can finally get around to that. The program "Live at Five", which is a hugely successful program in that market, is, I believe, categorized as news, and yet you would probably argue that that is not your news program. You go out of "Live at Five" into the news at six. There may be pieces of news throughout "Live at Five", but most of it, I would assume, you would characterize as local reflection programming, just the way that the other two stations have characterized it this morning.
5698 MR. ELGIE: That's correct, Commissioner.
5699 Seeing how the questioning was going this week, I also had a lineup in front of me of "Live at Five" yesterday.
--- Laughter / Rires
5700 THE CHAIRPERSON: I walked into that one.
5701 MR. ELGIE: This is from yesterday's show. "Live at Five" was exclusively local yesterday. The style that we cover our news and "Live at Five" and "Local Reflection" is certainly different than how we do it at 6 o'clock.
5702 We had stories yesterday, the effects of high gas prices on the automotive industry; the follow-up on how Maritime scientists are contributing to the development of alternative fuels; a feature on a play written and performed by Cape Breton high school students; an interview with a Maritime astronomy professor on the importance of the shuttle mission; weather obviously; a feature on how parents can help keep their children safe in playgrounds.
5703 We also, a day later than Edmonton, were talking with Paul Hogan yesterday; then a very in-depth investigation with Pete Luckett as to whether kohlrabi was a cabbage or a turnip.
--- Laughter / Rires
5704 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just getting back to this issue -- well, Pete Luckett could probably be characterized as comedy show too, having seen that a few times.
5705 I guess it raises this problem that "Live at Five" gets categorized as news when, for the most part it is not, in terms of what you do in your local markets, whether it is in Calgary or Halifax or Kitchener, or wherever. In your approach to going out and doing that story, you don't see that so much as a news story as we are here trying to reflect our market.
5706 MS McQUEEN: I guess it comes down to the definition of what news is. To me, the category of news does not forbid local reflection. It does not forbid Pete Luckett. I guess news is information of interest to the people at whom that program is directed.
5707 There is a rigid definition of news, which Kirk just talked about; that news covers plane crashes. The whole point that we are trying to make is that we don't see news that way. We see news as capable of reflecting the daily lives of people.
5708 In fact, in many ways the beginning of news is what people do in their daily lives, and then it filters up through a structure of associations and institutions and may eventually get to the legislature where it becomes hard news.
5709 I think the category of news, if it is not, should be expansive enough to include all these things, which is just relevant information that people in the community want.
5710 THE CHAIRPERSON: The reason I raised this question is that it gets at the other side. It is not a question so much of Bev coming up with an expansive definition of news. I think one can get to be perhaps overly bureaucratic in terms of what's a cube.
5711 We are struggling with this whole issue of local reflection in terms of this licence renewal and coming out of our most recent TV policy, and said that we would review this issue with licensees beginning with this proceeding.
5712 So if everything gets categorized as news and we have a concern about the local stations, do we get anything other than news in their local markets. And everything gets categorized as news. Then you come before us and it looks like, well, CTV is not doing anything other than news because it all ends up getting categorized as news even though a lot of it is not.
5713 That is why I raised the question with you the other day.
5714 If we say that we want you to do local reflection, okay, then I will call "Live at Five" a local reflection on a news program if that is going to satisfy the Commission.
5715 MS DUFFY-MacLAREN: If I may, Chairman Colville, to support both you and Trina, your definition does indeed include weather reports, sports casts, community news and other related features or segments contained within the news program. So perhaps we are all in agreement.
5716 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can I go back to where we were about half an hour ago.
5717 I would like to start by going back to the issue of the benefits falling out of the CTV situation where we have a number of benefits which are still continuing on and will not be completed until 2004, I believe.
5718 I don't know who is going to address that.
5719 MS DUFFY-MacLAREN: Are you speaking specifically overall?
5720 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are on ATV.
5721 MS DUFFY-MacLAREN: ATV.
5722 THE CHAIRPERSON: There was a benefits package as a result of the --
5723 MS McQUEEN: Mr. Fillingham, could you talk about the ATV benefits.
5724 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't want to get into the money so much as what came of the spending of the money and what we would have seen as having been different, what we are seeing now and --
5725 MR. FILLINGHAM: The benefits, for the most part, were focused on two main areas, which was really a development fund, a development office on the east coast and some programming that was going to come out of that office.
5726 Perhaps Johanna may be the best person.
5727 THE CHAIRPERSON: That is exactly what I want to get to.
5728 What has been the benefit of the Halifax development office and the benefit of the Script and Development Fund?
5729 I know the money has been spent, but what has come out of it?
5730 MS LUNN MONTGOMERY: We have commissioned since I came onboard, which was in 1998, when we began to implement those benefits, 12 documentaries. We have produced a number of half-hour dramas. And above and beyond the benefits themselves, we have done a number of movies of the week.
5731 So actually not only have we fulfilled the benefit requirements of the four documentaries a year and six storytellers over seven years -- we are not up to six yet.
5732 We have also done a number of MOWs and comedy series as well.
5733 On the development side, we have -- I will back up and give you some numbers.
5734 In terms of total licence fees that we have spent, it is $1.5 million. On the development side --
5735 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you give some examples of the programs that came out of that?
5736 MS LUNN MONTGOMERY: I would love to do that. I live for stories.
5737 Actually, I will tell you one that we are in the process of right now, which centres around Caledonia Junior High in Dartmouth, which is a feeder school of Coal Harbour High, which you might recall a few years ago was the site of race riots.
5738 We spent a year at Caledonia filming a school which was, certainly at the beginning of the year, a school that was in trouble. There had been five principals over four years, and the teachers had completely lost heart. It is a racially and economically diverse community of people.
5739 We were really fortunate, because what we found was a true hero, a true modern hero in the form of their newest principal, Edie Guy François. She came in and out of sheer determination and compassion and strength, and whatever it takes, turned that school around.
5740 This was the last year of filming, and we will be going to air with this documentary soon.
5741 Today what you see is a portrait of what it takes for a school, a community and students to turn a volatile difficult situation around as an example not only of something that happened in Nova Scotia but as an example to the rest of the country.
5742 That is just one documentary.
5743 THE CHAIRPERSON: What will happen to that program now?
5744 MS LUNN MONTGOMERY: That will air nationally. That is what we do with them.
5745 THE CHAIRPERSON: All of the programs that have come out of this have ended up going on to the network.
5746 MS LUNN MONTGOMERY: Absolutely, yes.
5747 What we do in our development office, as we have touched on briefly -- on Tuesdays we have one set of national mandates from a programming point of view, and what we are doing is developing our regions and the talent within our regions, bringing local voices to a national stage, developing talent and providing access to our directors, producers and writers, to understand what CTV is.
5748 What is it that we do? What are we looking for?
5749 I think the hardest thing for people in the regions is to be able to have access to that kind of information, to say: This is the CTV puzzle. We are looking for this piece and it is shaped like this so that we can be pitched ideas that end up on the national network.
5750 THE CHAIRPERSON: How would you characterize the benefit to ATV then?
5751 MS LUNN MONTGOMERY: The benefit to ATV.
5752 MS McQUEEN: Because these programs are airing nationally, I guess what is the benefit to ATV -- obviously ATV broadcasts them. I think that because they are documentaries set in the region, about regional characters, regional heroes, as Johanna just described, the viewers of that particular region have an equal benefit as the national system does.
5753 You might argue that ATV gets a particular benefit and the rest of the system gets a spin-off benefit. But certainly without that particular benefit, ATV would not have been capable of producing or airing documentaries specifically related to its region.
5754 MR. FECAN: I would like to add, because I was at CTV when we acquired ATV and ASN with that CHUM swap, that I think the CHUM organization built a very strong local station, group of stations, and I think they did a great job in setting up the news and "Live at Five" and "Breakfast Television" and everything else.
5755 I think we have worked hard to try to make it stronger. We have moved "The National" to the same time it is everywhere else in the country, which means the local also comes earlier.
5756 But ATV was not part of the creative community in the Maritimes in the same way that the CBC was. And now we are. It is a huge difference, because now we are part of that community. We work with the artists.
5757 They know where ATV is now physically. I am not sure they really would have before, because that simply was not the business CHUM was in with ATV, and it is how we choose to do it.
5758 We didn't, I hope, even remotely diminish the news and public affairs. We hope that in the few years we have had it, we have helped strengthen it.
5759 But we have also added something of our own. That is what Johanna represents and the ability to be connected with that creative community -- one of the strongest in the country, by the way, not just in music and comedy, but in all forms.
5760 We are now part of that. We were not before, and I think that is really important. It allows things like Flight 111 to happen and it allows "The On Ramp", and I am really proud of that addition. I think it has been very important for ATV to round them out so that they are more than an information shop.
5761 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't want to make it sound like the question or the tone of the question is in any way negative here. I want to better understand how this has evolved and what has come out of the benefits and how that has helped the region to do the sort of thing that CBC was able to do with "Codco" and the "22 Minutes" crowd and "Street Sense" and other things; Flight 111 in your case and these other programs.
5762 What I was trying to get a sense of is: Does the crew at ATV get involved in these productions as well, aside from parking the truck at Peggy's Cove to be captured in the Flight 111 shot?
5763 MS LUNN MONTGOMERY: There is no question that ATV is a resource for independent producers. But they are independent productions, so they are not produced by ATV crew but are news people -- the news clips that we have done, especially in the area of documentary, have been a great source of material for many, many documentaries, including the one I just mentioned.
5764 ATV had been at Coal Harbour. It had been involved in a lot of local school stories. So the resources of the archives came into play. Plus the reporters are great sources of information for documentary film makers who are researching topics.
5765 In that way, it all really starts mixing and commingling together. But they are independent productions.
5766 I would suspect that many people at ATV would say that they have been equally inspired to new news ideas just as a result of having all these independent film people coming through ATV every day that never did before.
5767 So there is certainly a mixing of community from that point of view.
5768 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Elgie is nodding here wanting to jump in, so I had better let him do it.
5769 MR. ELGIE: There is no question that the independent producers are a common sight at our station now where I don't think they were there before. Our boardroom is constantly filled with independent producers pitching ideas to Johanna. Our station gets involved. We have a much better understanding of the independent production community in the east coast.
5770 While they are independent productions, we help where we can and certainly like to think that we are a great resource, both to Johanna and to the independent production community.
5771 MS McQUEEN: I guess on Flight 111 one of the things that Mike and his team provided was a sensitivity. There was some sensitivity in the region about the story. You read the script and talked to the producers, I think, about some of those issues.
5772 MR. ELGIE: Because the news coverage of the crash of Flight 111 was portrayed heavily in the setting up of the story of "Blessed Stranger". We had some concerns with the script because it did involve an ATV clip in the background on the television of an ATV news story and an ATV personality. We had great concern about the sensitivity of the local community on ATV perhaps being seen as cashing in on this tragedy.
5773 So we did ask for a re-write on it and the writer did and I think the final product was much more acceptable, both as a national product and to the local community.
5774 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess I would like to pick up, then, on a theme that Commissioner Grauer was raising with respect to this notion of benefits.
5775 I guess part of the concern I have is, on the one hand we want, in these benefits packages, the benefits to be tangible and incremental. So it has to be real and sort of over and above what you would otherwise do.
5776 But, on the other hand, one wonders about the carryover or the carry on of the presence of the benefit. What is going to be on the ongoing effect of this?
5777 I guess one worries: Well, what happens after 2004 when the benefit is over? Does Ms Lunn Montgomery shut down the office and walk away and what was a great idea and got a number of good documentaries and movies on the network, or is there a carryover effect of this sort of thing, that now we have established a presence here that Mr. Fecan was mentioning wasn't there before the CHUM folks and now is there?
5778 Are we going to see this carry on, even though from a regulatory point of view the benefit is over in 2004? What is going to be the carry-on effect of this?
5779 MS McQUEEN: Well, we have committed that will -- as Johanna knows, that she has --
5780 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is she going to have a job?
--- Laughter / Rires
5781 MS McQUEEN: Yes. Pretty much as long as she wants it. And even if she decides she doesn't, the office will remain open and will remain active.
5782 I have been thinking about what Commissioner Grauer said about these benefits and I think it is true that one of the things in doing these benefits that we try to do is to build the relationships and to build the talent so that when the actual benefit ends there will be the relationships and the mutual respect that will enable these producers to make the pitch.
5783 There is still going to be money in the system. We are still going to be doing documentaries.
5784 What we think we have developed in the east coast and in the west coast is, first of all, a group of producers who have the experience and the talent and the track record that is so vital in getting a production green-lighted.
5785 Second of all, an understanding, as Johanna was saying, of what CTV's program policies are. In general, the ability to access CTV on the same terms and conditions as any producer who lives in Toronto or Vancouver or Montreal does. To us, that is the ongoing benefit.
5786 Have we developed -- partly, not us -- but have we and others involved developed a Maritime base of strong talent and strong producers through this benefit? I think the answer is, yes.
5787 We have given a lot of people their first chance, and even their second chance, and they are now capable of going forward with a third chance.
5788 We have made the access equitable, so when they come up with that they will have both the track record and the access. Those are two carryovers of those benefits.
5789 THE CHAIRPERSON: Track record and access and respect, but will she have the resources to be able to continue it on? Respect won't get you very far.
5790 MS McQUEEN: Her development budget will remain in place, yes.
5791 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5792 MR. FECAN: It has become part of our fabric. While it started as a benefit and was incremental at the time and, of course, is part of our benefits package for that transaction until '04, it has become part of our fabric and so it is important to us to continue.
5793 MS McQUEEN: The other thing is -- track record, access, development funds, the other thing is there is just a huge mountain of money out there in the next set of benefits that these producers can pitch for. So they are much more strengthened now in their ability to pitch for the various funds that are available through BCE that really dwarf the money that was on the table through the other benefits.
5794 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let's go back to the news and non-news, then, on ATV.
5795 You talked in your presentation this morning about expanding the news from a half hour, which you have just recently done. What can we expect to see over the next seven years? Is it largely going to be what you are doing now? I don't mean to diminish that, but is the current nature of what we see on ATV what one would expect to see in seven years' time?
5796 MR. ELGIE: Yes. I think the current structure that we have, we are quite pleased with the expansion of the six o'clock news to a full hour. It is working very well and we think that it is giving us an incredible inventory of programming to be locally relevant throughout the day.
5797 THE CHAIRPERSON: The same with "Live At Five", it would essentially remain the way it is?
5798 MR. ELGIE: Yes. "Live At Five", as you mentioned, is a very successful show and the two shows work very well in combination. I would be very nervous at being the one to suggest changing that.
5799 THE CHAIRPERSON: As your friends across the harbour said yesterday, they are just waiting for you to trip.
--- Laughter / Rires
5800 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you don't want to tamper with a good thing.
5801 Would that be the same with "Breakfast Television" as well? Essentially you would --
5802 MR. ELGIE: At this point we are thrilled with "Breakfast Television". It gives ASN a real personality and is working well for us and captures a large audience each morning.
5803 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't know whether I'm playing on semantics too much, but picking up on what you mentioned the other day, Mr. Fecan, to the approach with ATV was a solution to a problem.
5804 I'm thinking about this issue of the regional approach to dealing with, well, essentially the local programming from ATV across the region, the "Live At Five" and the news.
5805 Do you really see that as a solution to a problem? Is the problem still there? Is doing the regional approach the best way to serve the region, recognizing the differences between Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, or is doing a separate newscast for New Brunswick and perhaps Prince Edward Island something that you would consider, being mindful of my comment about tripping?
5806 MR. FECAN: Before Trina and Mike answer, I kind of want to make sure I have been as clear as possible about the problem.
5807 The problem isn't that there aren't great stories out in the other provinces, the Maritimes, or that we don't wish to cover them, or any of that kind of thing. The problem was, these were stand-alone stations.
5808 If economics took the natural course they might have been turned into re-broads with no journalistic capability. That is why I thought that what Fred Sherratt and his group at CHUM developed was a really innovative solution, because it not just kept the transmitters open as re-broads, but it actually kept journalists in the community. And not a stringer in New Brunswick, but a lot of journalists, and a lot in Sydney, and I thought that was a really great solution.
5809 I think it is probably as improvement in some respects because the whole I think is really stronger than what would have been if economics merely took its course and there was like a stringer here or there.
5810 The other general comment I would like to make is that while we may be the leader at ATV in terms of information, we were very cognizant of the folks across the harbour and we are not complacent.
5811 So while some of the formats may stay, I can understand why Mike wouldn't want to change it, he is always going to have the freedom to tinker with it and we have to continually reinvest to continue to make it better and stronger and more reflective.
5812 So status quo you don't get -- you know, in our line of work you don't keep the status quo by just leaving things as they are. You have keep reinvesting.
5813 We have been continually been reinvesting quite massively in terms of resources and equipment and that kind of thing and training for our journalists across the country. ATV is a great example.
5814 So status quo isn't status quo. Status quo is, we have to get better to continue to earn the trust the viewers put in us.
5815 MS McQUEEN: Beyond that -- and Mike can talk about more than this -- it may have started out as a problem and a solution, but what it is now is a success story that is obviously meeting the needs of the community.
5816 One of the things that I always find very interesting, is that that program actually does better in New Brunswick, where it is not anchored, than it does respectively in Halifax, where it is anchored.
5817 So what Mike and his news team seem to have done is tap into something that viewers want and they respond to and they like very much.
5818 So I'm not sure -- obviously, as Ivan said, we always want to get better, we always want to look at different formats, we always want to look at different ideas, but we do seem to have something there, a model that the viewers are choosing and responding to.
5819 I'm not a Maritimer so I don't know much about the culture, but maybe we have tapped into a culturally significant idea when we had a problem that we were trying to find a solution to.
5820 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think the program does very well, and I know it does well in New Brunswick, but there has always been this tension between the provinces and particularly with the way the news is done.
5821 How do you approach this from the point of view of sort of sounding out the market, in spite of the fact the program itself does well in New Brunswick, in terms of getting a sense from the people in New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island that in fact their news needs are being satisfied by doing this one regional newscast?
5822 I mean, the program can be doing extremely well -- and I don't mean to criticize. There is always a danger of what you do when sitting up here at the microphone, that we seem to be criticizing the other side too -- but you may be doing really well because the other side is not doing so well in New Brunswick.
5823 I don't know that, but the problem has always been to try to make sure we do satisfy the needs of those folks in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and not just been seen to be doing the -- maybe because Halifax very easily becomes, to the Maritimes and Atlantic Canada, what Toronto tends to be for the country.
5824 MR. ELGIE: Well, I think there is no question.
5825 I think one of the great opportunities presented is that the Maritimes feel like a region, and while there are three provinces that we cover, being from the region I think first and foremost people from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island feel like they are Maritimers. So that the PEI potato problems are important to somebody in Yarmouth, that the Burnt Church fishing dispute is important to the region, that huge problems with industrial Cape Breton's steel and coal industry aren't just local issues, they are regional issues and they are important to everybody in the region.
5826 We feel that by telling everybody in the region, viewers in Quispamsis have a greater understanding of the challenges of the region as a whole and by being in those regions every day, by being in Miramichi every day or by being in Charlottetown every day, we are not just reporting major news stories out of those communities, we are reporting softer news stories from the community.
5827 So that the cross-pollination of Maritime stories doesn't just focus on the hard news stories or the hard luck news stories of the Maritimes, we are celebrating achievement in these communities every day.
5828 So I think that we have tapped into what is a Maritime region and our sensitivities -- every day we go to win the day, not just for viewers in Halifax, Moncton, Sydney, but for the viewer in Campbellton or Edmunston or Yarmouth or Digby. We feel that those viewers are as important to us as where we have significant infrastructure like Halifax.
5829 We joke at the station that 2885 Robie Street sits right on the border of the three provinces and that we are not in any region. We try to look at it from the 60,000 foot level, that we are not in Halifax.
5830 I think if you watch our show, if we are doing a live hit in Halifax, it is not in -- we get that person outside of the studio because we want our studio to be the middle of the Maritimes. We don't want it to be in Halifax and to be Halifax Central. Because you are absolutely correct, people outside of Halifax look on Halifax as the entire Maritimes look on Upper Canada.
--- Laughter / Rires
5831 THE CHAIRPERSON: So how do you do that on a day-to-day -- how do you make sure that that balance is there? Because there must be an awful tendency to just --
5832 MR. ELGIE: It is tremendously easy to go and report the stories in Halifax and all of our staff, from our news director and our excellent news team, know that balance is required every day and know that the viewer in Quispamsis is as important as the viewer in Halifax and that we have to have story selection that day that will interest viewers in New Brunswick, Prince Edward island, the South Shore, as much as they interest people in Bedford.
5833 MR. FECAN: We also have fairly significant resources in these places and I would like, Mike, for you to talk about what we have on the ground in New Brunswick. I mean, this is not a roving stringer. These are people in the community and more than one or two.
5834 MR. ELGIE: Certainly our main base in New Brunswick is in Moncton. We have a fairly large staff in New Brunswick. Moncton would be over 20 employees in Moncton. We have three people in our news operation in Saint John, we have two people in our news operation in Fredericton. We have a video journalist in Charlottetown, a video journalist in Miramichi.
5835 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you see that changing over the next licence term?
5836 MR. ELGIE: No.
5837 THE CHAIRPERSON: I mean increasing -- I'm not suggesting you reduce it. Do you see having more of those in different communities throughout the region?
5838 MR. ELGIE: We think that that success with video journalists has been a great success story and we have converted all of our new staff in New Brunswick that are video journalists and we do have some jurisdictional labour issues that prevent us from extending that in other parts of our area.
5839 But whether we plan on expanding that I guess depends on what happens with the economy in New Brunswick, that we try and make sure that the local service that we provide in those markets is supported by the local economies and the advertising dollars raised in New Brunswick.
5840 So I can't look out very far at the economy of New Brunswick or Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island, but know that we certainly feel very safe in the commitment that we have right now as far as the amount of journalists we have in New Brunswick and that if situations change we will certainly evaluate it on a daily basis.
5841 We may find that we need less resources in Halifax and more in New Brunswick, but it's going to depend on the situation of the economy and where the news is coming from.
5842 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you would see keeping it at the same level. You might move them around a bit depending on --
5843 MR. ELGIE: Yes.
5844 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- the nature of the business.
5845 Getting back to the discussion we had at the start of the week on this notion of synergies -- and looking at ATV and ASN -- do you see ATV-ASN as essentially one service with two faces or one operation with two faces?
5846 MR. ELGIE: Yes, there is no question that ASN and ATV are an integrated staff, studio facility and service for much of the day.
5847 ASN has a different field for its programming, obviously. "Breakfast Television" is a different show than "Live at Five", but the staff is integrated and we think it is a very common approach that we have to providing information and entertainment viewing to the Maritime viewers.
5848 THE CHAIRPERSON: But for example, "Breakfast Television" is on both.
5849 MR. ELGIE: "Breakfast Television" is on ATV from 6:30 to 7:30 and on ASN from 6:30 to nine o'clock.
5850 THE CHAIRPERSON: It stops on ATV.
5851 MR. ELGIE: When "Canada AM" comes on, yes.
5852 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so how would you attribute the cost to "Breakfast Television"? Does the cost get attributed to ASN or is it kind of mixed between the two, or --?
5853 MR. ELGIE: No.
5854 THE CHAIRPERSON: The reason I ask this is that I was kind of struck. I guess I had always understood, sort of intuitively without looking at the numbers, that ATV was profitable and I had always understood from Mr. Sherratt that ASN was the loser. Now it's seems that it's the other way around and I thought, well given we are -- I don't mean this in an accusatory sense, but I mean, it's a bit of a shell game in terms of where we attribute the costs and the revenues between the two because a lot of the news clips are shown on both.
5855 "Breakfast Television" in on both at least until "Canada AM" comes on, and so while I can show one or the other as being profitable or not, just depending on where I sign the cost and expense, that's why I really ask the question: Do you really see this as one operation?
5856 MR. ELGIE: Yes, and I think when you look at the financial information you have to look at the two of them combined.
5857 Certainly ASN doesn't pay for phone service. ASN doesn't pay for heating, it doesn't pay for lights, it doesn't pay for a parking lot or a building. Those costs are contained within ATV. So I don't think that you can get an accurate reflection of ASN or ATV without combining the two.
5858 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Fillingham, you were just poised to jump in.
5859 MR. FILLINGHAM: No, actually Mike answered that very well because it is a problem in terms of allocating so we generally do treat them totally as a group and any of the isolated sticks, if you like, really are just dealt with in terms of any kind of local sales that would be applicable to incremental costs associated with it which I think is why perhaps even you had a reference the other day about Halifax losing.
5860 But that's because most of all of the cost of the entire facility is really dealt with right in Halifax and not allocated out to the Moncton, Sydney or ASN.
5861 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it's a combined operation. ASN isn't as profitable as it might appear nor is ATV losing as much as it might, if you combine the two operations.
5862 MR. FILLINGHAM: Yes, that's right.
5863 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now -- and again, I don't want to be critical here -- in spite of that, I mean, ASN was essentially licensed as a regional satellite to cable service and so the advertising condition was put in there partly reflecting that and partly reflecting concerns about the local market in Halifax.
5864 So I guess essentially if there is a change being suggested here at all in Halifax it's this issue of local advertising.
5865 So I guess I would like to hear your argument that would support us changing that condition. I guess especially in light of the changes in the economic situation that have taken place since the time you would have filed the application that perhaps the economy is not as robust as it was then -- not just in Halifax but in North America.
5866 MR. ELGIE: Thank you.
5867 We think there have been significant changes, not only since the filing but since the last time ASN sat in front of you.
5868 I might just sort of touch on a couple of what we consider significant changes in that at the time, CHUM obviously -- the former owner -- had two television stations plus two radio stations in the market. MiTV had just gone over to Global and was still in its infancy and a new owner. The Halifax-Dartmouth economy has grown significantly since that happened.
5869 Recently, Global has picked up the Halifax Daily News and now has two media outlets in town which they are jointly selling on.
5870 So we feel that there have been some significant changes and I guess the last one that we feel is very significant is the success of the Local Management Agreement at five radio stations in the Halifax-Dartmouth market. That has had an impact on the total media picture in Halifax and has made it a much more competitive market.
5871 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you see that as being this sort of three kind of key areas? Do you see that as being a fairly significant piece of that, the LMA and the radio stations?
5872 MR. ELGIE: There is no question that the LMA has made those five radio stations far more competitive than they were prior to the LMA and I think you probably get a better read on that from Maritime Broadcasting. But we have felt that the LMA -- I guess we weren't expecting to see radio competing for television dollars in as aggressive a manner as they have been competing.
5873 THE CHAIRPERSON: And if that LMA were to discontinue that would be a pretty significant change?
5874 MR. ELGIE: It certainly would. I can't even fathom the effect of that. Certainly, MBS would have much more to say about that than we would, but it has affected us as well.
5875 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what is your sense of the impact on your friends across the harbour?
5876 MR. ELGIE: Of --?
5877 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of ASN in the local advertising.
5878 MR. ELGIE: We estimate that there is about a $300,000 impact -- $300,000 to $400,000 impact of ASN selling in the local market. That would not come out of any individual media, television, radio or the print. We think it would come out a combined out of the media.
5879 Also the portion that does come out of the television market, because ATV does control a large percentage of the advertising expenditures in the Halifax-Dartmouth region, we feel that about 60 per cent of the television portion of that $300,000 to $400,000 would actually be coming from ATV.
5880 MR. FECAN: And Mr. Colville, I would just note that our friends across the harbour didn't object.
5881 THE CHAIRPERSON: I also note they had other advertising interests that may, from their point of view, weigh any objection that a single station might have.
5882 So ATV would then be in a position to combine ATV-ASN local sales?
5883 MR. ELGIE: Yes, it would and it's something that frankly our clients have been asking for.
5884 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which you are now doing regionally.
5885 MR. ELGIE: We do it regionally --
5886 THE CHAIRPERSON: That you are able to do regionally.
5887 MR. ELGIE: We are able to do it regionally. We are also able to sell local advertising to a Sydney retailer, but we are prevented from doing it to a Halifax or Dartmouth retailer. So our clients enjoy our programming on ASN. They get involved in "Breakfast Television" and they are asking to buy ASN.
5888 THE CHAIRPERSON: When you mention the $300,000 figure, is that what you would guess to be -- I just forget the words you said now. Is that what you expect to be the loss for Global or what you would expect your net gain to be?
5889 MR. ELGIE: That's what we would expect our net gain, Commissioner, to be on ASN.
5890 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5891 MS McQUEEN: The other thing, talking about our friends across the harbour, of course is that they have acquired a substantial interest in another local source of advertising. I don't know whether that is what you were referring to -- the 14 minutes. But that certainly enables them to become a powerful force with local advertisers because they can promise them and cross-platform the advertising in the paper and on television.
5892 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was actually referring more to the 14 minutes, but I take your point on that.
5893 All right. Well, I think those are all the questions I have at this time.
5894 Maybe it's time for a break.
--- Laughter / Rires
5895 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will take our morning --
5896 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: We were worried there.
5897 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will take our morning break now for 20 minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 1020 / Suspension à 1020
--- Upon resuming at 1040 / Reprise à 1040
5898 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back to our proceeding, ladies and gentlemen.
5899 We will return to questioning of the individual CTV stations now and moving west from Atlantic Canada, I will turn to my colleague Vice-Chair Wylie for Quebec and southern Ontario.
5900 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Good morning.
5901 We won't have much to say about Quebec any more -- for a while, anyway.
5902 I will, however, have questions on CJOH Ottawa, CFTO Toronto, CKCO Kitchener and CKCO Oil Springs.
5903 Ms McQueen, I think I can speak for my colleagues in saying that we thank you for the performance of this morning. That was helpful and woke us up as well because if I look at the TV Policy, at paragraph 44, where the Commission said it would no longer require applicants to make quantitative commitments with respect to local news, but will ask them to demonstrate at their renewal how they will meet the demands and reflect the particular concerns of their local audiences, there is a bit of a shift which perhaps doesn't perfectly match the type of reporting that we have had, especially for Commissioners who haven't been using all this material for a long time.
5904 What happens is when you look at the schedule, for example, of CJOH or at the appended schedule -- at the program schedule in the appended Schedule 5, a fair amount is lost in the translation and then, of course, the suspicion gets to be all this is news, what kind of news? Are we losing local altogether?
5905 So the intention -- I'm not always mean -- the intention was to give you an opportunity to show us how in fact these blocks of news are to a large extent interspersed with programs and vignettes and interruptions that are very locally important but are lost in the shuffle.
5906 For example, if I look at CJOH first, when I read the actual application, I see that you have things like -- and let me see whether these things are still on; I don't always watch every day -- "Athlete of the Week", for example, "Children First", "Never Too Old", "The Happiness File", various minutes about safety and "Regional Contact" is there as a program, "Crime Stoppers", all important, and not really seen there, because when I look at that Schedule 5, all I see under local production, I see the telethons, news, and I believe regional contact -- yes. And so these other things get lost.
5907 So to me anyway that was helpful to understand that instead of local news, there are a lot of these other programs that are really not as strictly news although it was correctly pointed out that proper logging would allow them into news.
5908 But anyway, it was helpful to me and I thank the gentleman who took the time to put it together. And I guess I can assume that it's similarly treated across all your stations.
5909 MS McQUEEN: That is the general philosophy of the local news and reflection programming is just what you have seen, that it replaces or takes the elements of what were formerly separate kinds of local reflection and puts them at the peak hours. That is the philosophy.
5910 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. We have to perhaps be a bit more careful about how to separate news and the local news.
5911 Now, it remains also that when one looks at local reflection to see whether it is adequate or appropriate in the circumstances as outlined by the Commission, in my mind comes also -- not that we have ever required the particular expenditures -- but how is the particular station how is it spending on this type of thing, which is also a bit of a test of how devoted or dedicated to it it remains.
5912 So I thought I would ask Mr. Fillingham, if I look at the projections that you have filed for the seven years, as well as the confidential 2001 budget, and I look at the news line and then I look at the assumptions you have used -- I think it is Schedule 3, yes -- to say how the financial projections are put together, I understand that CJOH, for example, would be allocated 13 per cent of the revenue and expenses of the 40 hour of network service. Is that correct?
5913 MR. FILLINGHAM: That is correct.
5914 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: CFTO, 27 and CKCO, 8.
5915 If I look at the news line then, that allocation would be included in the news line?
5916 MR. FILLINGHAM: It would be for year one of the new -- for the 2001 confidential and year one.
5917 Could I perhaps help you out here?
5918 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. What I am aiming for is in your lines of expenses where is the local?
5919 MR. FILLINGHAM: Yes.
5920 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Then, we are not looking for exact cents, but what is the proportion that is expended on local rather than being the 13 per cent? Because I would expect that 13 per cent in Ottawa would cover the costs of producing the national.
5921 MR. FILLINGHAM: Okay. First off, just to be clear here, we are moving from one kind of license, one policy where we were dealing with conditions of license on spending to the new one. So allocations are a bit of a problem in terms of the references that you have probably before you.
5922 In actual fact, I think, moving forward the forms could be revised to make this a lot simpler. Because our next year one to year seven, and in fact our 2001 figures, are basically predicated on those percentages, I think, that we indicated in the assumption return where we did take the network 40-hour service and spread them on those percentages.
5923 In the past, though, we were also dealing, like the year 2000, if you like, was dealing with in a sense a different set of allocation assumptions primarily because of the spending conditions that existed essentially on most of our Ontario stations. We were being consistent in terms of how we were spreading those costs.
5924 So having said that, if you think in terms of, I think, our total Canadian spending in those years, 2000, 2001, it's approximately 138 million. I can tell you that about 61.5 million of that is the local reflection programming in each of -- in all of our stations in our group. So just under 50 per cent, if you like, somewhere between -- around 47, 46 per cent really is the total cost of the 15 and a half hours of local reflection programming at each of our stations.
5925 So for CJOH specifically, I think the 2000 form indicated locally produced cost of news at around 9.4 million. In effect that included a 4.4 allocation because that was, as I said, really based under the old system of the spending conditions.
5926 In effect then, the cost of local news at CJOH for 2000 was five million. In our 2001 budget in the locally produced it should be approximately 5.1 million and grows accordingly. There is in some stations some costs for some of the other categories. I think CJOH has about 181,000 in the information category. It also has about 255,000 in sports.
5927 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Which would be, if I were asking you to separate what you pay -- what you actually spend on local, those lines would include --
5928 MR. FILLINGHAM: Those are the lines that are truly local reflection -- the cost of local reflection programming.
5929 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Which leads me, of course, to a more negative question. Ottawa, CJOH seems to be one of the few where there appears to be a pretty serious reduction in, let's call it, local news and local reflection where you see to have been broadcasting, according to your own application, 20 hours and 10 minutes of local, even though the expectation had been lower, and now it will be the same block as everywhere else, 15 and a half hours.
5930 Despite the fact that that news line, for example, increases from the 2001 budget to the year one budget, am I to conclude that you are going to be spending more on less or is there a higher percentage of the cost of the national news that is in the following year. Because it grows -- it is confidential so I don't want to put it on the record -- but it grows a fair amount, the news line. Nevertheless the production is only the 15 and a half hours in Ottawa rather than the 20 that you were doing.
5931 MS McQUEEN: Well, I think what we have done with that 15 and a half hours is advance that as a general expectation as a minimum rather than saying that no station would do more than that. There are no basic plans to change the amount of programming that is being down on OH.
5932 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Which would then provide a better match between the budget. I haven't really focused on the information line. Oh, it's increasing as well quite dramatically and yet there is a fairly big decrease. So I could conclude from that that you don't have any intention of driving down Ottawa to that 15 and a half hours necessarily.
5933 MS McQUEEN: No, and ATV also does more than the 15 and a half hours.
5934 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes.
5935 MS McQUEEN: There are a number of local variations across the country. But what we have said is that our plan is to do a minimum of 15 and a half.
5936 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Fifteen and a half. Yes, I egocentrically focus on Ottawa to do these calculations.
5937 So that would explain that, because I think it is relevant to look at just how many resources are actually allocated to local, and for me anyway to understand better that I haven't lost all of these list of programs that I was looking at. It is simply they get subsumed in what is called "news." So we thank you for the effort.
5938 Now, in script and concept development in your application, my references, unfortunately are to our own pagination. So this isn't going to work very well.
5939 But you speak of -- and you will probably recognize that -- a continuation of the benefit from the NCTI, which is the National Capital Television, acquisition from Bushnell where they had a 50,000 fund in annual development monies, which was subsequently increased to 100,000 and Baton-related companies were not to have access to it. It was put in the hands of independent trustees, if I recall, or a committee of some sort.
5940 I am trying to connect this with your statement in the supplementary brief at page 22 that everybody would have $50,000. Does that mean that what was 100,000 before is now 50,000? What is the situation with the fund and will CJOH get the 50,000 that everybody supposedly gets for script and concept development from page 22 of your supplementary brief?
5941 MS McQUEEN: The answer is yes. We have kind of done an equitable formula across the country where every station manager has the $50,000 for concept -- script and concept development.
5942 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But what happens to the other 50,000 or actually it was 100,000 that is supposed to flow from this fund. Does it still exist as a financial source?
5943 MS McQUEEN: My understanding is that that benefit has come to an end in the $100,000 format and we are continuing -- we haven't reduced it completely but we are continuing it at the 50,000 level. But Robin maybe could add.
5944 MR. FILLINGHAM: That is correct, Trina, and the idea in terms of proposing the 50,000 is to create that equitable distribution into all the small markets, into all of the markets around Canada, augmented, if you like, by the 200,000 development on the east coast, the 200 on the west and part of the 500,000 national. All other markets then have a 50,000 script and concept development fund.
5945 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Is this fund still there and accessible? Was it a fund that was vested and producing money?
5946 MR. FILLINGHAM: It was a script and concept development fund that --
5947 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It is now subsumed in --
5948 MR. FILLINGHAM: It is now a $50,000 fund. That is correct.
5949 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: In the five million and then reallocated.
5950 MR. FILLINGHAM: No. It was reduced from the 100,000 that had been there as part of the ACTI benefits --
5951 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I see.
5952 MR. FILLINGHAM: -- that is now a $50,000 fund and part and parcel of the comprehensive development funds that have been allocated across the country.
5953 MS McQUEEN: I noticed that yesterday Loren Mawhinney gave you a kind of description of the different development funds that Global has.
5954 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes.
5955 MS McQUEEN: They were pretty much the same as the kind of funding we have. But just as she pointed out, there is a development budget that is unallocated that any region can come forward for if they have a special kind of project, and that budget is held by Susanne and her group.
5956 But the station managers themselves have this $50,000 which is totally within their purview as to how they spend it and to whom it goes and on what sorts of genres. So there is kind of a local development pot and there also is a national development pot and a regional producer can decide which of those pots he or she would like to access.
5957 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But I still don't understand. There is money, additional money still there from this fund which goes into the whole that you then apportion.
5958 MR. FILLINGHAM: In terms of recoveries that were made you mean?
5959 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes.
5960 MR. FILLINGHAM: Yes, if there is any access, that still remains in the fund to be spent. Yes.
5961 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Okay.
5962 MS McQUEEN: That is something that we don't project in our figures because obviously it varies widely from year to year. Some year there might be none and some years there might be a great deal and we like to keep pretty quiet about that so Robin doesn't take it all away from us and the development officers can continue to have it.
5963 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I will then ask no more questions on this one, Ms McQueen.
5964 So tell me, "Regional Contact," that half hour that will continue?
5965 MS McQUEEN: Yes, it is.
5966 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And children's programming on CJOH?
5967 MS McQUEEN: I would like to ask Mike to answer these questions. I didn't realize he was right behind me.
5968 MR. TIERNAY: Sorry, Commissioner. Could you repeat the question?
5969 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: The children's programming on CJOH? I understand the --
5970 MS McQUEEN: Yes, the Children's First Project is a project within the local station and it will continue. It is really part of the philosophy of the station, how they distinguish themselves and gives them that CJOH brand. It is part of the brand, if I can use that commercial message, and it will continue. It also is the personal passion of the news director.
5971 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: That is again one that would be found if you were looking for it inside the local news block?
5972 MS McQUEEN: That is correct.
5973 MR. TIERNAY: Correct.
5974 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: One of the list that I had this morning.
5975 CFTO now, I guess Commissioner Grauer now can't listen since it's Toronto.
5976 You have in Toronto, again, possibly -- when I look at the schedule, I find more than 15.5 hours of local programming. Is that correct?
5977 MR. LEWCHUK: That's correct.
5978 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: What would you say it is?
5979 MR. LEWCHUK: If we included the five hours of CFTO news at noon, or seven hours of CFTO news at six, the late local news, which actually goes for 35 minutes every night, the repeat of CFTO news at dawn that we do in the morning, and over an hour of updates that we do throughout the day, the actual schedule is in the neighbourhood of 19.5 hours at day.
5980 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. I wasn't too far off.
5981 Again, you say 15.5 hours as a matter of course everywhere, but there is room for more.
5982 MR. LEWCHUK: Absolutely.
5983 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Is there any intention of reducing what is there down to 15.5 hours?
5984 MR. LEWCHUK: I don't think there would be any chance that we would be reducing those numbers.
5985 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: There is something missing, that is on the schedule, again, but not on the description, like "The Fan" -- Fan TV and Real Estate TV. They are on the schedule, but I don't see them in the local production. They would then, again, be inside the news?
5986 MR. LEWCHUK: No. These are acquired programs that run on late Sunday morning --
5987 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: No, but when I look at Schedule 5 -- I think Ms McQueen knows -- which follows, you have a representative program schedule and then a description of the programs. These programs don't show up in the description.
5988 Is it because they are in the news block?
5989 MR. LEWCHUK: No. It is acquired programming that is run on Sunday afternoon.
5990 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Oh, rather than local productions.
5991 MS McQUEEN: Right. And the schedule, obviously, changes. So this is a representative schedule, but there would be more programs over the year than we would show on one program, because two programs might have the same time block.
5992 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So if I were to find them, it would be in the "C" part, the Canadian acquired --
5993 MR. LEWCHUK: That would be correct.
5994 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: As opposed to the "A" part, the local production.
5995 MR. LEWCHUK: Yes.
5996 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So these are not inside the local blocks and they don't intend to be.
5997 When you look for them in the schedule, you find them separately.
5998 Again, in Toronto, children's, you had, I think, an expectation of 2.5 hours weekly, but if we look at 1999-2000 we find 4.5 hours. What are your intentions for children's programming for the future on CFTO?
5999 MR. LEWCHUK: The children's programming on CFTO will be the same as we do across the entire network, and we will be looking at a minimum of 2.5, but more likely in the neighbourhood of about 3 hours. But that will fluctuate from year to year, depending on what the network acquires.
6000 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: When you talk about what I would call special event coverage -- Caribana, the Pride Parade or whatever -- that would also be found inside the local news block.
6001 MS McQUEEN: Not necessarily. Obviously, we did the municipal election recently --
6002 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: That would be a much bigger --
6003 MS McQUEEN: Yes. And events like the telethon would be outside the local news block. So some special events would take place outside that block.
6004 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But some are inside, as well.
6005 MS McQUEEN: Some are inside, as well.
6006 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: The examples you give -- I thought I saw covering Caribana and covering the Pride Parade -- one would find them inside the local news block.
6007 MR. LEWCHUK: If I may, I have been instructed to try to be humble about Toronto, but it is difficult sometimes.
6008 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And Commissioner Grauer is not listening.
6009 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Oh, yes, she is.
--- Laughter / Rires
6010 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Actually, I am a great fan of Toronto, so don't be at all humble. You do great work.
6011 MR. LEWCHUK: Commissioner Grauer also knows that I am originally from Saskatchewan, so she is probably interested to hear me talk about Toronto.
6012 We do a lot of that coverage and we are very involved in that sort of coverage that happens. Particularly, a lot of those kinds of events that we are involved in happen on the weekend, and there are often times in certain time periods on the weekend that we are the only local news in Toronto that is covering these events, because we are the only ones who broadcast our six o'clock and our late evening news seven days a week.
6013 So we are sometimes the only voice within Toronto for these events.
6014 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: In the script concept development there is a large contribution from CFTO itself. CFTO's general manager, or the person in charge of CFTO, what is his or her role in deciding what the national office funds will be spent on?
6015 MR. LEWCHUK: The drama department office, which is part of CTV, which is located in the same building, is located two doors down from my own, so I tend to be able to talk to Bill Mustos and his people about any projects that come forward quite easily.
6016 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So CFTO would have its local say, so to speak, on the national projects.
6017 CKCO Kitchener -- is Kitchener east of Oil Springs? We can't do that in the wrong order.
6018 It is?
6019 MR. WATSON: Oh, yes.
6020 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: In CKCO, it would appear that although your commitment is 13 hours and 50 minutes of original news, there has actually been a performance of 15 hours, 39 minutes, but that would include repeats perhaps on Kitchener.
6021 MR. WATSON: No, that would be original news.
6022 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Original. So it is more. So the 15 and a half hour commitment is approximately what is currently on?
6023 MR. WATSON: That is correct.
6024 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And Kitchener will also control $50,000 of development projects to be used with local or regional producers.
6025 Do those include Toronto ones?
6026 MR. WATSON: We have worked with some Toronto producers. For instance, we made a grant this past year of $20,000 to a producer for a project called "The Secretive Will". We have worked with this producer in the past. We have faith that this project will be completed, but the reason we supported it so heavily was that it is about a teacher from Stratford, Ontario, which is part of our coverage area. She has found a way to get her grade 2 class excited about reading and performing the plays of William Shakespeare, hence "The Secretive Will". It is a great piece. I have seen a rough cut. It is not quite complete yet.
6027 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It's still rough.
6028 MR. WATSON: Yes.
6029 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It is not in being yet.
6030 Children's programming -- in 1998-1999, 5.5 hours; 1999-2000, 6 hours per week. What are your intentions with regard to --
6031 MR. WATSON: Our intention is to program the same as the other CTV stations, at a minimum of 2.5 hours over the coming licence term.
6032 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Which could be a reduction of more than half, if you perform according to the minimum.
6033 MR. WATSON: That's correct.
6034 I think, as Susanne Boyce discussed earlier this week, there just isn't the amount of product that is available any more, largely due to the specialty channels -- YTV and Teletoon -- sort of filling that void.
6035 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Are there other ways, à la CJOH, of including children's interests in your other blocks of local programs?
6036 MR. WATSON: Yes, and we do so.
6037 Just this week we interviewed an illustrator -- an animator -- for children's books. Robert Munch, a well known children's author, lives in Guelph. We have interviewed him many times and featured him on the air.
6038 During Octoberfest, one of our cultural events that we cover -- part of Octoberfest involves the schools, so we cover that event as part of our daily news. People from Octoberfest go out and talk about the spirit of Gemuetlichkeit, which is good fellowship, which is what the festival is about.
6039 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: These various festivals that you have mentioned, you have them listed separately from the local news block in Schedule 5, attached to your program schedule.
6040 MR. WATSON: Yes.
6041 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So the Octoberfest pageant would be a one-time affair, I would expect.
6042 MR. WATSON: That is correct.
6043 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You can't drink beer all year.
--- Laughter / Rires
6044 MR. WATSON: Actually, the festival gets a bit of a bad rap on beer. Certainly that's a part of it, but --
6045 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I didn't think it was bad.
6046 MR. WATSON: Maybe I'm being defensive.
6047 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I just thought if you did it every day, maybe, it would be excessive.
6048 MR. WATSON: Around Octoberfest there is the pageant, which is a one-hour variety program that we produce and air in prime time, and then there is the parade on Thanksgiving Day, on the Monday, which we air, which we put together, and all of the CTV stations air that Thanksgiving Day parade.
6049 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Ms McQueen, this Schedule 5 for CKCO would have been prepared by the CKCO manager, so what I would like to clarify is: These types of descriptions are also present, although not described, in other stations, like CJOH. If there is a festival here, like the Tulip Festival, even though it is not written "Tulip Festival -- 90 minutes", I would find it in the local news -- counted in the local news.
6050 MS McQUEEN: That's correct. Unless they are specifically given in the program description, you would expect --
6051 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. That's where the difficulty is of losing sight of what this local news block really means in terms of examining what is happening in my city, or the Chair's --
6052 MS McQUEEN: Correct.
6053 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So it is not always put together in the same fashion and can easily --
6054 Perhaps not for the staff as much. They would probably chastise it.
6055 For the public, in a public hearing, it becomes subsumed and disappears, and you can easily think: The news is all national and don't tell me that you are --
6056 MS McQUEEN: That's right.
6057 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You are just repeating a lower version or a less expensive version of the national.
6058 There has been more detail here. For example, "Provincewide" and "Final Round" are quite -- these are every week, Saturday and Sunday.
6059 MR. WATSON: That is correct.
6060 MS McQUEEN: And we tried in our supplementary brief to make reference to some of the --
6061 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes, you have, but then we end up, at the end of the day, with a grid and what was called a bureaucratic sea or whatever this morning, and you lose sight of what may be happening, which may look better, we hope, than what some of these charts show, in many cases.
6062 CKCO Oil Springs -- you have local news at three hours and 25 minutes, and I understand that there has been some confusion about whether it was four hours and 38 minutes, and then there were some ads counted in there. I am prepared to talk about a commitment of three hours and 25 minutes.
6063 If I remember your commitment with regard to the smaller stations, which CKCO Oil Springs is -- it is in your supplementary brief at page 21 -- it is to maintain the current level, rather than the 15.5 hours. So the current level would be a minimum of three hours and 25 minutes?
6064 MR. WATSON: That is correct.
6065 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Would you expect us to continue expecting of you the same formula as before with regard to local availability in the local insert at CKCO-TV3?
6066 MR. WATSON: Yes. The formula is 6.5 per cent of our avails separately for each hour of separate programming.
6067 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Per hour of separate programming, which would be based on the three hour and 25 minute minimum.
6068 MR. WATSON: Correct.
6069 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And it would increase.
6070 If I understand it, we are talking about a rebroadcaster or a retransmitter in which there are inserts of programming that are more local to Oil Springs and to Sarnia, Chatham and Windsor.
6071 MR. WATSON: It is more to Sarnia and Chatham than Windsor. But you are correct, the transmitter is in Oil Springs, which is between Sarnia and Chatham.
6072 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Why is it more when there was an expectation that you would cover Chatham and Windsor as well?
6073 I know how difficult the Windsor situation is for Canadian programming.
6074 MR. WATSON: Windsor is extremely difficult for us, because the transmitter doesn't even put a B contour into Windsor. So, right away, off-air delivery is negligible.
6075 Second, cable penetration in the market of Windsor is under 50 per cent. I believe it is 49 per cent.
6076 So we have had coverage problems there.
6077 We did try to serve the community, but the signal was so weak and the viewer so low that it just didn't work.
6078 Of course CBC does service the market. They have an originating station there, and CHUM has an originating station. They also have four radio stations, and there is a newspaper serving the market.
6079 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Are you saying that, in our expectation, we should take Windsor off the list?
6080 MR. WATSON: Yes.
6081 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And that you would just cover Sarnia and Chatham, on the grounds that your transmitter coverage does not reach Windsor.
6082 MR. WATSON: Correct. We do go down and cover the major stories at Windsor.
6083 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Except that people don't see them back is what you are saying.
6084 MR. WATSON: But they are of interest to other people in Ontario. There is the car accident that took place on the 401, the 130-car pile-up. We covered that.
6085 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: That was big enough for Toronto even.
6086 MR. WATSON: Yes, it was.
6087 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I don't know the answer to that, but is the signal picked up for those who are cable?
6088 MR. WATSON: It is picked up on cable. And cable penetration, as I mentioned, is about 50 per cent.
6089 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So 50 per cent of the Windsor population or Windsor households could impact CKCO --
6090 MR. WATSON: Yes. That is correct, of the homes that have cable. I am sorry, 50 per cent of the homes have cable; one out of two households.
6091 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So 50 per cent of households then would have access; correct?
6092 MR. WATSON: Correct.
6093 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: To the CKCO signal.
6094 But you don't think this warrants a whole lot of effort.
6095 MR. WATSON: Over the years we did attempt to cover the market, and our audiences just were not there.
6096 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: What do you have in Sarnia and Chatham as a resource to have some coverage of those areas?
6097 MR. WATSON: In each of those markets we operate a news bureau.
6098 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Including Windsor?
6099 MR. WATSON: No, we don't have a news bureau in Windsor.
6100 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Sarnia and Chatham.
6101 MR. WATSON: In Sarnia and Chatham we have a news bureau. We have a videographer that resides in the market. They are equipped with camera editing equipment. They are connected to our NewStar system via modem. They have access to the Internet, cell phones, and we have a bidirectional microwave system to move the news stories back and forth.
6102 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Which one of those two would be expected to respond to some need for coverage in Windsor?
6103 MR. WATSON: Either one. And on occasion when both have been busy with stories in their area, we have dispatched a crew from Kitchener.
6104 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: As well.
6105 Chatham is west of Sarnia, closer to Windsor; right?
6106 MR. WATSON: It is between London and Windsor and a little to the south.
6107 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: That is it, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much.
6108 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Wylie.
6109 Continuing west, then, I will turn the questioning over to Commissioner Cardozo.
6110 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Good morning, all.
6111 My questioning will be primarily in northern Ontario since we don't have a lot to talk about in Manitoba just yet, which is the other area I am covering with these local stations.
6112 I guess I will be talking to you, Mr. Lund, most of the time.
6113 Could you paint us a little picture of how the system works. With MCTV you are operating in five cities, and Sudbury is the core. Is that right?
6114 MR. LUND: Yes. We have been marketing and operating MCTV as one unit for almost 20 years now, actually more than 20 years now. We are twin stick in our four major markets, and we have a CTV stick in Huntsville.
6115 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: For the news part of it, do you have a larger operation in Sudbury and smaller operations in the others? Are they sort of satellite to Sudbury?
6116 MR. LUND: Let me backtrack a bit.
6117 The flexibility that you have allowed us to have is that we share resources between all of our markets. While this gives us a chance to share those resources, with northern Ontario's economy in the past ten years the population has not grown. We rely on our retail resources.
6118 So we need this flexibility to handle these challenges. I am not apologizing for our coverage. We are by far the number one rated news program actually in Ontario. We have 39 journalists throughout northern Ontario, which is near double all of the dailies and radio stations in those markets combined.
6119 While we are very proud of what we do, we have used this flexibility to have regional newscasts at some times, local newscasts at some times. We are confident that, looking ahead seven years, we will continue to be the top news station and top station in northern Ontario.
6120 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: If we look at the 6 o'clock local news, approximately how many stories would be from each of the five centres?
6121 MR. LUND: For the 6 o'clock news each centre -- let's exclude Huntsville for a second. Each of the four areas does their own local news. A full hour is their locally produced news.
6122 Maybe I will run down the day.
6123 "Canada AM" in the morning is regional inserts coming out of Sudbury with stories from around the north.
6124 The "Noon News" format is a little looser because it is the afternoon. We do "Around the North". It is a regional cast out of Sudbury. We go live to each market on what is happening there that day.
6125 The 6 o'clock cast is a separate local cast out of each market.
6126 The late cast is a mixture of the two. It opens with separate local from each market, then goes to Sudbury for regional sports, then back to local for wrap-up.
6127 Our weekend news is at 6:00 and 11:30, both Saturday and Sunday. And that is both regional, with input from all of the stations. We have staff on the weekends from all of the stations, but the regional cast is out of Sudbury.
6128 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I am just taking that in bit by bit. It is just falling into place here.
6129 How much local news are you planning for the term ahead; how much local news and how much local non-news?
6130 MR. LUND: To put things in perspective, back before Baton/CTV bought MCTV, we did five hours of local news. I think we did a half-hour daily talk show.
6131 Through the years we now do -- I think our promise was 12 hours, but we now do 15.5 hours of news and local reflection. That is basically all in the news format. We call it news, but it is far from just news. I know the other stations talked about it.
6132 I talked to Mark Oldfield yesterday as we all went through what you are covering that is not -- what might have been in those community access shows before that you are putting in your news format.
6133 Just the line-ups from this week -- and I won't go through all of them obviously, because we are pressed for time.
6134 We went from a story on Tuesday -- and I will just read the headlines, the lead-ins. I am not an on-air person, but I will give it a shot here.
The musical hit "I Love You, You Are Perfect, Now Change" is set to wrap up at the Sudbury Theatre Centre's 30th anniversary season. The musical looks at everything from the panic of first dates to growing old together. It is a broadway show that is given a local feel in both dialogue and set. The play runs from April 19th to May 13th.
6135 And then:
Diabetes awareness: it is informative and there is no charge. The Canadian Diabetes Association is offering free service to local schools, businesses and other community groups.
6136 Another one:
Ten thousand people butted out in the month of March for the Ontario Quit Smoking contest. The motivation, besides clean lungs, was a wide variety of great prizes. Kim Lambert from Wawa was the lucky winner of a grand price, which was a Caribbean cruise for two donated by CTV.
6137 I have one more here.
A fitting act of generosity for the season at the Sunshine Foundation at Sault Ste. Marie has put a smile on 9-year-old Nathan Kaitlan's(ph) face just in time for Easter. MCTV's Lucie Nartishn(ph) has the story.
6138 And it goes on.
6139 In northern Ontario, when you talk about local reflection, we are sort of the bulletin board. We are a smaller community in northern Ontario. Whatever happens -- oh, the cell phone thing. Can you believe it!
6140 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Up to 16.5 hours for him.
--- Laughter / Rires
6141 MR. LUND: I can't believe it. I turned it on at the break.
6142 Where was I?
6143 THE CHAIRPERSON: Maybe you should quit while you are behind, Mr. Lund.
--- Laughter / Rires
6144 MR. LUND: Exactly. We are the bulletin board for northern Ontario, so if anything happens in northern Ontario we are sponsoring it, supporting it. They come to us to reflect back to the community.
6145 Whatever format we put it in, the 15.5 hours that we do for northern Ontario is a lot compared to what we used to do. We would like to continue that in the years to come.
6146 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Do you think you would make it to air?
6147 MR. LaPOINTE: We were all watching raptly. There is no question about it.
--- Laughter / Rires
6148 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: A little bit of trading, maybe. But there are opportunities.
6149 Is this commitment, then, the same as it has been in the last few years?
6150 MR. LUND: Our commitment was 12 hours, and we did 15.5. We will continue to do 15.5.
6151 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: How much of the news stories come from CFDO, for example? Is there any kind of relationship of them being a senior station to you, or do you count on them for Queen's Park stories or things like that?
6152 MR. LUND: That depends. I would say 80 per cent -- for a lot of the journalists in northern Ontario those stories take priority.
6153 Obviously if something is happening in Toronto, if it is Inco related, if it is a big story we will send someone down. But if it is a Parliament Hill story, we will use the CFDO reporter.
6154 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I gather from the notes that you have an aboriginal reporter who covers -- is it the five areas? She moves around quite a bit?
6155 MR. LUND: She also anchors our "Noon News" and she does tour northern Ontario.
6156 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In between anchoring the news?
6157 MR. LUND: How we do it is she anchors for a month, and then for a month she is on the road.
6158 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: My second question was going to be: Does she do more than aboriginal stories or reporting?
6159 I would take it certainly when you are talking anchoring, it is everything.
6160 MR. LUND: It is everything. Diversity is in our fabric. This has been a great initiative for us.
6161 Maybe when you look at how we are as an employer -- I don't know if you are going to get into this area, but I would want to acknowledge the successes we have had and diversity in MCTV.
6162 Just in the past six months alone our HR Department -- Cindy Cacciott was my HR Manager. She has been to three conferences that has brought them into the fabric of MCTV.
6163 Just listing them: The Benefits of Hiring Individuals With Barriers to Employment was a one-day conference. Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative was a one-day conference. A four-day course, Anti-Racism Training: Building an Inclusive Multicultural Community, is another conference that Cindy went to.
6164 Also, we have four scholarships in our community colleges for aboriginal journalism students, and we have hired two people out of the scholarship winners.
6165 If you look at the results -- I know Dawn earlier in the week talked about percentages in different categories. For MCTV the workforce population in northern Ontario for aboriginal people is 2.2 per cent. We are at 3.92 per cent.
6166 For visible minorities, northern Ontario is 1.8 per cent and we are 3.9.
6167 For persons with disabilities, it is 5 per cent and we are 7.84.
6168 So we have had some success. It is part of the way we do business.
6169 Why we notice it more in MCTV than in other stations is that we are a small station. We are a training ground for the bigger markets. Our on-air people come through and they want to go to the bigger stations. So we do have turnover.
6170 When you do have turnover, you notice these kinds of initiatives. And it has worked fantastically for us at MCTV.
6171 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: For what I guess you would call the designated aboriginal reporter, you have other people in training so that if and when she does move on to another station you have someone else to fill those shoes.
6172 MR. LUND: We have two right now. She came in as the designated one three years ago. We will always have that spot. If she leaves -- and I hope she doesn't leave; but she is very good and one day she might -- we will keep filling the spot with another aboriginal reporter.
6173 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Since I did the questioning on cultural diversity, I want to make one comment on the amount of the local material that we noted, and we were talking about it in preparation for the hearing.
6174 We certainly noticed a lot of things that were happening at the local level. Indeed, you have talked about it here today. I just want to note that and compliment folks for that.
6175 If we do go the route of asking you to lay out a plan, please feel free to talk about what the local stations would be planning to do.
6176 What is the independent production budget for northern Ontario? Is it the same, the $50,000?
6177 MR. LUND: Our fund in northern Ontario is an independent board chaired by Keith Campbell. I am on the board. I am the only MCTV employee on the board. The criteria is, you have to be living in northern Ontario and you can't be an employee of MCTV or CTV.
6178 We used to have a budget of $100,000, but ours is a little different. We used to share that with CHRO when they were with us before we sold them to CHUM. Back, I guess three years ago when that happened, 75 to 80 per cent of applicants were from the Ottawa Valley area.
6179 So what we did is, we put an aggressive campaign on the air, let the local potential writers know that we have this fund, and since then we have been giving out $50,000 a year, from $3,000 to $5,000 increments, to potential writers in northern Ontario and it's working great.
6180 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. So for the term ahead what figure are you looking at?
6181 MR. LUND: Fifty thousand every year.
6182 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: That is for MCTV, which is the five-city group?
6183 MR. LUND: Just for our coverage area -- you have to live in northern Ontario -- for $50,000.
6184 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: When they pitch, do they have to come to Sudbury or talk with your folks in Sudbury, or would it be in whichever other area they are?
6185 MR. LUND: What we find is we pitch -- there are very little face-to-face pitches so far. We have our board meeting and we will meet in Sudbury and we will have our -- our pitches basically will be in a written form, their concepts, and if we need extra descriptions we will actually ask them to come in.
6186 But we are very, very flexible with our fund. I mean, northern Ontario doesn't have the abundance of writers, let's say, of Ottawa or Vancouver or Halifax, so we give -- if you ask for money, you will get the money.
--- Laughter / Rires
6187 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Does northern Ontario --
6188 THE CHAIRPERSON: So don't ask for money.
--- Laughter / Rires
6189 MR. LUND: You have to live in northern Ontario.
6190 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Does northern Ontario cover Ottawa I was just about to ask.
--- Laughter / Rires
6191 MR. LUND: No. It used to. It used to.
6192 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In this business you come across some incredible ideas.
--- Laughter / Rires
6193 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Just think of the show "The Regulators".
--- Laughter / Rires
6194 MR. LUND: Move to North Bay, you have some money.
--- Laughter / Rires
6195 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: We have a great team of writers here too, regionally based, all sorts of thing.
6196 We can talk later, I suppose, on this.
6197 Can I just ask a couple of questions about the Fall 2000 schedule. I just have that one, but if you have another one, you can -- I have a couple of shows to ask about.
6198 I notice of the non-news variety there are two, one is -- I wouldn't suggest that they are linked, but one is "Mass For Shut-Ins" and the other is "Super Big Money TV Bingo".
--- Laughter / Rires
6199 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Are those your two half-hour local shows?
6200 MR. LUND: We do produce them locally. We don't count them as local reflection.
6201 I know in Stompin' Tom's song "Sudbury Saturday Night", they talk about the boys are getting stinko and the girls are playing bingo, but we are not counting that as local reflection.
--- Laughter / Rires
6202 MR. LUND: It is a fund-raising show for --
6203 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: This is just like the mojo thing that Corus is doing in Toronto.
6204 MR. LUND: Exactly.
6205 And the "Mass For Shut-Ins" is a paid religious show.
6206 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I'm sorry?
6207 MR. LUND: It's a paid religious show.
6208 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And the "People Church" is?
6209 MR. LUND: The "People Church" is also a paid religious show.
6210 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. And that's Canadian, is it?
6211 MR. LUND: Yes.
6212 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Let me just try to make sure I have serious questions to ask here.
--- Laughter / Rires
6213 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: What is the status of the -- well, the five areas that you cover cover a certain part of northern Ontario. I note you comment about people being able to write in from anywhere, because my question was more based on the fact that we are talking incredible distances here between cities, so I would assume it is a consultation to people who don't live in Sudbury, who live in Timmins or wherever else, that they don't have to travel long distance to get to you.
6214 What are the status of discussions with affiliates in Thunder Bay and Kenora?
6215 MR. LUND: Really, we look at them as two separate markets. We have talked to them in maybe sales ideas in the past, as far as from a retail point of view in dealing with northern Ontario.
6216 But northern Ontario -- northeastern Ontario we consider a unit and Thunder Bay, there isn't much interaction between the two of us.
6217 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Is there anything else, Ms McQueen, you could add?
6218 MS McQUEEN: We have recently signed, this week, a new affiliation agreement with Thunder Bay for a five-year term.
6219 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. Are you looking at Kenora as well?
6220 MS McQUEEN: Yes. We are expecting that once we get out of the hearing we will start work.
6221 Jim MacDonald has been our consultant on this and he has spoken to Kenora already. I think their decision was to wait to see what happened with Thunder Bay and then follow up.
6222 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay.
6223 MR. MacDONALD: Off microphone / Sans microphone.
6224 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Do you want to come to the microphone so we can get you on the record, Mr. MacDonald?
6225 MR. MacDONALD: I'm sorry. It gives me a chance to update Trina as well.
6226 I am delighted to tell you that --
6227 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: These open briefings are great. We like to --
6228 MR. MacDONALD: I know. I was on my way to northern Ontario to apply for the money when you asked the question, so I came back.
--- Laughter / Rires
6229 MR. MacDONALD: But I am pleased to tell you that Kenora, as well as Lloydminster when we get a little further west, have both agreed in principle to a new five-year agreement and we have reached an extension if NTV as well.
6230 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay.
6231 I don't know how far to go down this road and maybe legal counsel can direct me differently, but just in general terms would you be looking at the same sort of thing in terms of independent production in those areas, or when you are talking about independent production is it mostly the stations that you own?
6232 MS McQUEEN: Yes. We provide them with a network service, but they are the programmers of the station and responsible for their own news programming and local reflection.
6233 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay.
6234 MS McQUEEN: That doesn't mean to say that we wouldn't be open to pitches for CTV nationally from people in that area, but we don't control what the affiliates do.
6235 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. I think I was okay with that question.
6236 Can I ask about your website plans? I was looking for your websites and found e-mail addresses to send you e-mail, but not websites at MCTV. Is that something you are planning in the years ahead? Is that something that would be useful? Would it be just promotional interactive?
6237 MR. LUND: We are in the sort of planning stages and looking at what we should do. When ctvnews.com came online we were wondering is there going to be a local aspect of that that we could tie into what they are doing on a local basis. I mean, it's a resource situation for us. We would love to have a web page, but I don't want to have a lousy web page. So we want to make sure we are going to do it right.
6238 So yes, we are looking at it. What we will end up doing, with the help of our other web properties I'm not sure. We will end up doing something, but I'm not going to do it if it's not going to be good.
6239 MR. LaPOINTE: Commissioner, there are still some discussions under way about the way in which we are going to roll these out, but it is certainly our intention, because that is really one of the paths of the future in terms of news gathering and obviously building a greater bond with our communities to have dedicated websites that will serve off our markets.
6240 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: So you are looking at having individual websites for each station?
6241 MR. LaPOINTE: The actual shape and form of the model is still a little bit under discussion because we obviously have an awful lot to bring to the table and we want to resolve many of those issues before we fix on some models.
6242 But in general what we would hope for is that the audience that now looks to MCTV and to all of our other local reflection and news programming across the country would be able to see a companion site that would interact with those programs and permit people to use the online presence between additions for updates, and so on, throughout the course of the day and night.
6243 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Can I ask you in general, then: Am I wrong to be a bit surprised or am I over reacting or premature to be surprised that radio stations haven't gone further -- this is not just with your company -- but having gone further down the road to data and having active, interactive sites that would complement their stations, both for promotional purposes and providing altered mechanisms.
6244 MR. LaPOINTE: Well, it is slightly different obviously than, say, the newspaper world where you have a paper that is out once a day and sometimes not even seven days a week, sometimes only six days, I think the newspaper business has probably seen more of an imperative of getting onto the web between editions to serve.
6245 Whereas our stations are on the air three and, in many cases, more times a day, updating regularly and also using their broadcast facilities to break into programming when there is an urgent local situation. It has that resource available to it.
6246 So I think television stations in general have been a little slower in coming on and it is probably a good thing in some ways because an awful lot was poured into some of these sites in the early going with a very small market.
6247 I think our ability now, both through ctvnews.com, which has, I think, state-of-the-art streaming video and is really prepared for everything that is about to happen in the online world and I think now is the time for our stations to get in, because the market is sufficient where they can have a large audience for that and work in tandem with the newsrooms who are also prepared, who have people now who are equipped and fluent enough with the code, HTML and VML and those types of things, and are going to be able to build and make these extensions of the news operations.
6248 MS McQUEEN: Plus, of course, we have our partnership with Sympatico, Lycos and all that knowledge, intellectual capital and, as Kirk says, experience of what is right and what is wrong and some very strong interfaces with local communities across the country. So we have a lot of elements. The task is to put them together in the best possible ongoing way.
6249 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: So in terms of newspapers, are you saying that they have a certain amount of ready material and perhaps the audio-video streaming isn't as advanced as yet to be able to do it easily?
6250 MR. LaPOINTE: I think speaking from my past experience in newspapers, it largely saw Internet sites as simply a migration of what they had done. I happen to think that there is a new experience that is going to emerge out of all of this very soon that will combine streaming video text, interactivity and who knows whatever else.
6251 I mean, we are sort of in the Internet world -- just as a journalist anyway, I look at it as sort of being analogous to the early days of television when everyone who had a radio show sort of got a television show and then television found out that there were other faculties that were required and other techniques and other talents. I think the online world is going to very shortly have exactly that same experience where people realize that it is not simply a matter of migrating what you have done in another medium, it will be a new experience of some sort.
6252 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Certainly in the National News there is a lot of "Go to our site for more information for the original documents, original sources" and something which even newspapers would maybe find hard to do because of the volume.
6253 I'm just struck that overall we don't see enough -- I shouldn't say enough.
6254 Part of it may be demand as well as to what people are looking for, that perhaps they are looking more to newspaper websites at the moment than TV station websites.
6255 MR. LaPOINTE: It's a matter, I think, of us getting ourselves in in the next while --
6256 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you for that.
6257 MR. LaPOINTE: -- in a bigger way than we are now.
6258 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you for that, and thank you, Mr. Lund.
6259 Those are my questions, Mr. Chair.
6260 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vice-Chair Wylie.
6261 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I have jurisprudential question.
6262 Mr. Lund, are you a Lund of mid-Canada Pembroke fame?
6263 MR. LUND: We were all together as far as one family before we sold CHUM -- CJR to CHUM. So we are all the same.
6264 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I meant are you the son of Mr. Lund who was in Pembroke?
6265 MR. LUND: Yes.
6266 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes, okay.
6267 MR. LUND: He is now relaxing in Florida.
6268 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Okay. It sounds good. That's where I should be maybe, since I knew him when he was in Pembroke.
6269 THE CHAIRPERSON: Continuing to move west, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Commissioner Pennefather.
6270 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
6271 Going west, we will start with Saskatchewan.
6272 I guess the questions for Saskatchewan come together as a group quite often because of the way the programming is structured, both news and non-news, so we might move back and forth between the stations. I hope you agree with that because it seems to be the way things work.
6273 Let me start with the news.
6274 I think it's the case that in CFQC, CKCK, CICC and CIPA everyone is doing 15.5 hours a week.
6275 The reason I'm asking that is, at some point in the supplementary brief, and I think I noted this the other day, there is a reference to the group collectively broadcasting 15.5 hours, but in deficiencies you clarified that each has 15.5 hours.
6276 MR. DUNLOP: That is correct.
6277 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: You are now doing 15.5, whereas the commitment was 13. Therefore 15.5 represents maintaining the current amount of news at each station?
6278 MR. DUNLOP: Yes.
6279 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: As I understand it, too, in the case of CICC Yorkton and CICA Prince Albert, they contribute 2.5 hours news to the package that is pulled together in CFQC and CKCK?
6280 MR. DUNLOP: No. They actually contribute more than that.
6281 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Okay.
6282 MR. DUNLOP: What happens is -- and this works for both Prince Albert and Yorkton, they maintain a complete news gathering service and go out and cover package stories and, in the case of Prince Albert, send them to Saskatoon for delivery in their cast. The same happens with Yorkton to Regina.
6283 The 2.5 hours you are talking about is in fact half of the new news hour that is individually produced and that is more used for the local reflection part of the service.
6284 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So as I understand, if I am a viewer in Prince Albert or Yorkton, really I am seeing the local news, hard news or other kinds of reflection as we have been discussing, at the noon hour, whereas at the six o'clock and later it is the larger picture created in CFQC and CKCK?
6285 MR. DUNLOP: Well, it's not really created there.
6286 I think I have to give you a bit of a history of Saskatchewan. I was talking to Fred Filthaut from Edmonton at the break and he gave me a line that I just need to have the opportunity to get in here.
6287 I grew up in a small town that is about 20 minutes outside of Moose Jaw, which is close to Regina where I currently reside. I went to high school in Yorkton at St. Jules' College, and I spent most of my broadcasting career in Prince Albert. So to take a bit of a twist on a nationally televised commercial "My name is Dennis and I am Saskatchewan".
--- Laughter / Rires
6288 MR. DUNLOP: There is no question that the current level of news broadcasting is in fact local, locally relevant and resonates with the viewers in each of the individual markets in Saskatchewan.
6289 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: That is obviously where I was getting to. As Vice-Chair Wylie said, it is difficult sometimes to get a sense of what the 2.5 hours translates into for a viewer in Prince Albert and Yorkton (a) if you are not from there and (b) if you just have the notes that are here, the briefings that are here.
6290 So in your view, then, what the 15.5 hours means in Prince Albert and Yorkton is a truly reflective news hour. Part of the reason that is important is the way we have been describing the news block in our discussions as meeting the goals of local reflection as we understand it.
6291 So I was interested, I could see the CFQC, CKCK, but for Prince Albert and Yorkton I was wondering how in fact their news would be in fact the news that we have all been discussing here as truly reflective of the communities, those communities?
6292 MR. DUNLOP: Well, Yorkton and Prince Albert do contribute to every newscast, but in terms of the Saskatchewan model, Saskatchewan is by itself a community.
6293 I mean, if you talk to someone who is holidaying in Kelowna, for example, and you ask them where they are from, they don't say they are from Regina or Saskatoon or Prince Albert, they always say they are from Saskatchewan.
6294 So although there are individual situations that happen, I mean Saskatchewan has shared content around the province throughout its broadcast history. The content that is delivered in each of our four markets is, as I say, locally relevant and resonates with our viewers.
6295 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So would it follow the same pattern, as we discussed previously, where the bulk of the news would be local as opposed to national, international stories?
6296 MR. DUNLOP: That is correct.
6297 I made a phone call yesterday to our people in Yorkton and Regina, the two stations I'm responsible for, and asked them to give me a few examples of the kind of things that they had been doing this week in each of those local markets. If you wish, I could quickly run through them.
6298 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Certainly, I think it's only fair to give Saskatchewan a bit of time --
--- Laughter / Rires
6299 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And as we keep saying, my fellow Commissioner from Indian Head would have a comment if I did not say yes.
6300 Please go ahead.
6301 MR. DUNLOP: One of the things we have to remember about a place like Saskatchewan -- and it would apply to northern Ontario as well -- is that -- and I guess this is a blessing in a way -- I mean, if you are talking about news context in terms of the plane crashes and the car accidents and the murders, and things like that, likely we would hardly be able to fill half an hour a week of that, if anything. so our opportunity obviously is to use the definition of news to cover all facets of Saskatchewan society.
6302 In Yorkton this week, they did a feature that was from the CAMSAC Arts Council. The CAMSAC playhouse is a heritage property that keeps the arts alive in a small Prairie community. There was a feature on the Kenora research farm -- they are gathering research and data on a number of specialty crops. The Yorkton Colony Quilters Guild with their upcoming show at the Western Development Museum, the Yorkton chapter of the Saskatchewan Abilities Council talking about their upcoming curb-side recycling program, which is their major fund-raiser, and then the Yorkton Arithmetic Gymnastics. People were in talking about the upcoming provincial championships in Yorkton.
6303 In Regina, we talked to the Regina Barbershop Singers, what barbershop singing is and how do they get involved.
6304 A gentleman by the name of Greg Seville was on talking about creating safe communities, what we can do to ensure a safe environment for all of our children to grow up in.
6305 There was a feature on "Fly High", which is a new mentoring program for young women in high school about lifestyle choices and issues facing young women every day.
6306 The food bank fund-raising with Girl Guides and that was tied to youth concerns in our society about the environment and upcoming Earth Day events. The MacKenzie Art Gallery has an art and bloom event where local artists and florists get together to present some things.
6307 We have a feature -- and I know this is played around the province -- on a new home for the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College and its important for First Nations youth and what that is going to mean to them down the road.
6308 And a local chapter of the "Chili for Children" program and work in the inner city. In our "Supper Cast", we carried coverage of the Saskatchewan Indian Winter Games that are taking place in Prince Albert. The Regina Powwow which is attracting thousands of people. Local women struggling to find help for fetal alcohol syndrome and we had our "Weather Live" from a family barbecue at an inner-city school.
6309 My partner here Gerry will give you a few more examples from his stations.
6310 MR. MacLEOD: Thank you.
6311 Commissioner. I will just take last night's newscast, if you will, out of Saskatoon so you will have some indication. I won't go through all of it so I won't take too long.
6312 For example, we had a story of a missing taxi person and the RCMP are asking for the public's help in finding that missing taxi person. That was out of Saskatoon.
6313 Also from Prince Albert, we had the police find the body of a boy who had been missing for a few weeks. Then we had a story from Regina, from CKCK and, of course, this is a provincial story truly with the "Fike Report" which is, of course, to do with the health situation in Saskatchewan -- and that's quite major.
6314 Also back to Prince Albert, the Saskatchewan fire chiefs met in Prince Albert and that was discussed.
6315 Back to Saskatoon again, we are doing a provincial memorial service for all the police and fire-fighters within the province. This is RCMP and also, for example, the university security and so forth. So that is coming up and I will be attending -- and also our public service director will in fact be MC'ing this.
6316 Dennis had mentioned about the Winter First Nations Games held in Prince Albert and this is even more than just -- it's a sporting event, but it's also a cultural event. So it was covered in that vein. The final day was yesterday. So that gives you some idea of what we have covered. Also in our newscast the home lottery, for example, there was a draw and that's a provincial-wide lottery, the Hospital Foundation Lottery, which was drawn so, of course, people from all across the province have their names on that draw.
6317 So when I was checking with our assignment editor, my name was not on that.
--- Laughter / Rires
6318 MR. MacLEOD: So I just thought I would mention that.
6319 Also we had a feature on Ernie Scolls who is a young First Nation's artist who is making a name for himself in the Saskatchewan Art Centre, and "Portraits". This is something we covered in the Saskatoon inner-city schools. They are featuring family portraits on the hall ways of the schools rather than just student pictures, and this is to celebrate the different family structures as well.
6320 So that just gives you some idea of what our cast looks like.
6321 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you for that.
6322 In fact, the Saskatchewan group of stations do have a block of programming called non-use, which I would like to discuss now, and it's developed, I think, along the same concept of four stations and the two affiliates contributing to "Farmgate" and "Indigenous Circle", and it's one hour a week.
6323 Could you describe to us how each of the station put that together? Again, I guess the question is the relevance to the local communities involved and thirdly, do you see these two programs, which in fact are not on the news block but have their own regularly scheduled slots continuing over the next seven years?
6324 MR. DUNLOP: Thank you, Commissioner.
6325 We definitely see those two programs moving forward. They have been successful in terms of audience and, therefore, the people have shown us that it is critical for Saskatchewan.
6326 Now, both of those programs actually each deal with an issue that faces Saskatchewan people every day. There are two major social paradigm shifts that are happening in Saskatchewan.
6327 One of them is the fact that Saskatchewan was built and is based on an agricultural rural society and I mean we don't want to get into all the news about what is happening to agriculture and all the global problems and things like that, but it does mean that the pattern of life in Saskatchewan is dramatically changing. I mean, there are challenges and some opportunities for farmers in Saskatchewan and that whole rural way of life. There is population demographic shifts. So I mean we produce "Farmgate" because it is in fact so key to the current situation in Saskatchewan and the future that we are going to be moving to.
6328 Similarly with "Indigenous Circle", the population of Saskatchewan has remained flat and in fact I think it's probably decreasing a little bit, but the fact is that the First Nations' population is in fact exploding. So over the next 20 years there is going to be a tremendous shift of the makeup of the society. Therefore, as business people and as broadcasters it's really incumbent upon us to stay on top of those issues for the people that we serve.
6329 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Did you want to --?
6330 MR. DUNLOP: I really can't add any more than that because there are two excellent shows and they do certainly show the community within Saskatchewan the importance of it.
6331 I come from a background in farming and my family still farm. They haven't quite gone broke yet, and it's an important show. And like Dennis, I have to say that he is not the only one who is a resident to Saskatchewan. For example, I have been with CFQC Television over 40 years and this has been my province and my city and what we are doing is I'm very pleased with what is happening in our province.
6332 MR. DUNLOP: Commissioner, could I just add a little bit about "Indigenous Circle"?
6333 "Indigenous Circle" is a show that's near and dear to my heart because I spent many years in Prince Albert and when I was there Dale Newfelt, who was my news director at the time and myself, this show was our vision and what we did is we created a council, an advisory council of people from the First Nations' community and the Métis community, Elders, and we said to them, "We can try and do all the things we want, but the reality is that we are going to give you this platform to do with it what you will". They decided that they have the name, the format was theirs, the content is theirs and we have seen it through.
6334 It was so popular that it expanded into a provincial program and it has been very, very successful.
6335 I think in both of the shows the other that is very important is that both with the agricultural issue and the First Nations issue, these are issues that are important to every resident of Saskatchewan so the stories come from all of the areas of the province and are gathered by all of the people in each of the stations.
6336 So it has been a tremendous vehicle on our local individual basis and on a provincial basis.
6337 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I think that was the point that I wanted to get to too so that we are clear and I think we have a better understanding of how, for example, the "Indigenous Circle" gets put together. I was going to ask you how you assess that the show is really meeting the needs of the various communities.
6338 But the other question was -- and you said it just now and you said it in the answers to deficiencies -- the show, in essence, would appear to be a regional program because it in effect is covering the whole of the province so again, you are saying that it is still local in terms of each of the individual stations.
6339 So can you clarify how you balance both the quality of the show, as you say, that reaches to everyone in the province and has contributions from all the different stations, and yet remains a local program.
6340 MR. DUNLOP: I guess it remains local because of the fact that there is a connection between every part of Saskatchewan with respect to both of these shows. I mean, if you do a story in Kilington, Saskatchewan about a farm family in crisis, that story is personal and locally relevant to a farm family in Maple Creek or Assinaboia or North Battleford or anywhere. I mean, there really isn't separate regions as such in Saskatchewan. We are in fact one community.
6341 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I was thinking of it too just in terms of the regulators' position and looking at local programming and the fact that it is a program created and seen ass the same show in all of these different localities. So it's important to us to understand that it remains a local production according to Schedule 5 as opposed to a regional production and this has to do with local advertising as well.
6342 MR. DUNLOP: I think that it might be helpful. In both of those shows what happened is that stories and segments are actually gathered and produced in each of the regions and they may be assembled and produced in each of the regions and they may be assembled into the package in one location, but that would be it.
6343 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you.
6344 Just one last question on "Indigenous Circle". I notice that it's unlike "Farmgate" which is 48 originals -- I'm looking at Schedule 5 -- it's 26 originals and 24 repeats.
6345 Are we planning to have more original shows perhaps of "Indigenous Circle"?
6346 MR. MacLEOD: At this time I believe that we will be remaining at the 26 because of the involvement of doing the program and the subject matter. There is a Board of Elders and they meet on a regular basis and they plan the shows as to what the content will be. They come from across the province. They are a makeup from Southern Saskatchewan as well as Northern Saskatchewan. So it's across the province.
6347 At this point the 26 shows seems quite good for us.
6348 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you.
6349 On the development funding, in Saskatchewan the four stations will collectively control the $50,000. Am I correct?
6350 MR. MacLEOD: Correct.
6351 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So how is this amount going to be distributed among the stations and how will it be managed in terms -- is there a committee? How is the money going to be dispensed?
6352 MR. MacLEOD: There are five trustees managing the fund. I am on the Board and as well as David Fisher who is our promotion's creative person in Saskatoon. But we have it independently chaired by Veronica Hammersy who has her own production company, and she has been Chair for quite some time. She does an excellent job. Unfortunately, she is going to be leaving us at the end of this year so I have to say publicly I thank her for all the work she has done because she has done a great job.
6353 Then we have Gail Tilson and Don List who both have their companies in production. They are out of Regina. So what we do there, the $50,000 represents the entire province, if you will, and so we meet quarterly and we go through the applications because the applications come in and in most cases we do not meet in person. We use a conference call of doing it because Gail and Don are in Regina. Veronica is in Saskatoon and of course we are in Saskatoon as well.
6354 So Veronica comes to the station and then we get on the conference call where all the material has been sent to them in advance so that they can go through it. They really are the people that make this all happen. My part is very small because they know so much of the production community.
6355 So what happens is we then go through them and assign. We have some real successes. I am very proud of what happened because our fund for example, the big thing about that, as Veronica says, it triggers more funding, like from SCN or from SaskFilm.
6356 But I am aware since starting we have had 35 going into production, recently, up to 15, and a number of them have gone on to CBS, some on CBS, for example, "Movie of the Week". We have had "History" carried at CBC, WTN. So we are quite pleased at our success.
6357 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you for that and you will be continuing with this approach over the licence term?
6358 MR. MacLEOD: Yes, we will.
6359 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: We will move on to Alberta with a nod to my other colleague, Mr. Williams, and CFRN Edmonton and Calgary, CFCN.
6360 Starting with Edmonton, we have had a wonderful description of the news, non-news, and as my colleagues have said we really appreciate filling in the blanks, so to speak, and putting some real context into what the news and non-news encompasses and, as Vice-Chair Wylie said, trying to understand where the non-news style of programming that we were discussing the other day has turned up in the news and why.
6361 But on the news, I have a question that may sound a little negative, but perhaps you can just clarify this for me.
6362 In the previous licence term the requirement for local news was an expectation of 17 hours and five minutes. Your Schedule 10 in the application indicates 14 hours and 50 minutes.
6363 Can you clarify for us what the problem is there?
6364 MR. FILTHAUT: Commissioner, I would be very happy to do that because there is a misunderstanding.
6365 First, I would like to just mention that I'm glad that Dennis Dunlop got Maple Creek, Saskatchewan on the record because that's where I was born. Maybe we should sing the Riders song.
--- Laughter / Rires
6366 MR. FILTHAUT: If I can back up.
6367 The station in Edmonton has three regions which is Red Deer, Fort McMurray and Grand Prairie and the licence that we had submitted for our licence renewal in 1995 had what we were doing for local news in those three regions included within the Edmonton number. That was prior to them being recognized as a separate program undertaking.
6368 So there was some exchange -- and it is on the record -- with the Commission that when these three regions received their separate program undertaking, they were taken out of the Edmonton number. So the Edmonton number in fact -- and it was accepted by the Commission -- was 14 hours and 35 minutes and one hour in each of the three regions. You add them collectively that is 17 hours and 35 minutes. So Edmonton as just Edmonton, the promise was for 14 hours and 35 minutes.
6369 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you. If there is any further clarification, I think counsel will pick it up but I think that is clear. I have the decision in front of me and that seems to bring it all together.
6370 I think my next question since we have discussed the programming approach you have for news and reflection in some detail, unless there is anything you want to add, I will move on to another point.
6371 MR. FILTHAUT: There is lots I could add. Would you like to hear it?
6372 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: That was a little rhetorical but we really do appreciate the descriptions.
6373 Like Chair Colville, I do have a question about ongoing benefits, both from the Transfer Decision of 97-527 and the license renewal we just mentioned of Decision 95-640. Let me start with the last license renewal where we discussed in program development a million dollars a year inclusive of a $20,000 script award. Is this a program that will continue over the next license term?
6374 MR. FILTHAUT: With respect to the million dollars, that was a volunteer commitment by the owner at that time, which was Electrohome. That runs out the end of next year and we will keep that in -- I mean going forward the first year of this new license term would pick up that million dollars.
6375 So we will complete our obligation at the end of the seven years.
6376 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: What kind of projects has this million dollars a year supported? What have been the results?
6377 MR. FILTHAUT: Well, I have got 20 examples here, but I am only going to mention, I think, four.
6378 The $20,000 that you referred to is the Screen Writing Awards. That is something that we took the initiative to start and Josh Miller won for a script called "Genius." In turn, that received development dollars. That turned into "Mentors," the TV series and ended up on network television, and by the way, it was produced for three years.
6379 "Acorn, the Nature Nut," was truly an Edmonton project that started seven years ago. Initially it aired with our sister station, again under the Electrohome banner at that time, our sister station Kitchener. It soon became a syndicated series, was sold around the world, ran in numerous countries and was produced for the past seven years.
6380 One that you saw on Tuesday presented in the video by CTV was "The Associates." As you heard, it was two Edmonton lawyers that wanted to become writers. They actually came to us and we were the first ones to give them that script development and looked what happened.
6381 Just quickly, without any detail, but some of the other ones we have supported through development: "Grizzlies of the Canadian Rockies," which ran on CBC in March 2000; "Matchless Six" which ran on CBC; "Complete Rider" on OLN; "Beyond the Barbed Wire" on Comedy and we were also the first leg in the Sheldon Kennedy CTV Signature Presentation. So those are the kinds of projects.
6382 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you. Also in your Schedule 10 you do refer yourself to the other series of benefits out of Transfer Decision of $6 million over five years, and you describe the results there, the CTV Signature Series and so on.
6383 Am I to understand then that both these programs which have instilled considerable resources into the production community in Alberta and also created some excellent programming will no longer continue and be replaced by $50,000 a year in program development. That is what would appear to be what is going to happen.
6384 MR. FILTHAUT: Well, the $50,000 in development will be there for Edmonton. In terms of the BCE benefits, I mean there is a huge amount and I am not going to -- I guess we will ask Robin or Trina to quote the dollar amount there in terms of the access that there will be to still create those kinds of things. So the $50,000 in Edmonton in terms of development will service adequately.
6385 MS McQUEEN: It is true, Commissioner, that one benefit has ended and that that benefit did produce really strong programs for the viewers, which the viewers have enjoyed and responded to. We also think it helped create a talent base in the province, helped strengthen the talent base in the province. The Western Development Office is an office that is designed also to serve Alberta and we were pleased in the AMPIA intervention to see their remarks about that office and how helpful it is.
6386 So what we intend to do, the philosophy that we have tried to put and will try to put into the benefits is that when they expire, although those dollars do go, that there is an ongoing benefit. The ongoing benefit we think is, first of all, the continuation of the Western Development Office with the continuation of the $200,000 in development, plus the increased strength and increased track record of Alberta producers and plus the relationships that have been struck between Alberta producers and CTV.
6387 Alberta now I would say probably has the best possible cadre of producing talent to exploit fully the $23 million benefit that is specifically for regional programs within the BCE benefits. I say that because Vancouver is not eligible.
6388 So of all the regions, when we look at Saskatchewan, when we look at the Maritime community, when we look at Manitoba, it would be -- I think that the odds of Alberta producers being able to take more license fees, more production time out of that $23 million than they ever did out of the CFRN fund are 100 per cent.
6389 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I appreciate that overview. But there is a point of view that could say that what we are tracking here is the commitment of CTV, and that, as you know, the benefits are incremental. So what we are tracking as well is the commitment through the local stations to production and program development and that is $50,000.
6390 MS McQUEEN: Plus the -- because Louise's office is a western office so they have access to that $200,000. I agree with you the benefits are incremental and we have switched one set of incrementalities for another set of incrementalities.
6391 I guess the position of Alberta producers vis-à-vis CTV and the rest of the country, we feel is equitable. The $50,000 is the $50,000. Perhaps you could say that they have a little more because they have access to the Western Development Fund. Perhaps you could say they have a little more because of the way the BCE benefits are targeted. But generally, I think, it is more or less equitable with advantage to Alberta if there is one.
6392 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But what you are not doing is committing to continue with, let's say, the million dollar program development fund in the hands of the local station?
6393 MS McQUEEN: Well, the million dollar fund, although it was in the hands of the local station was very much a two-key system. Fred did not actually produce the Sheldon Kennedy story or was not entirely responsible for that. The CTV drama department was -- would be a major player in that. I guess in terms of the million dollar fund, you are right, that was a commitment for a specific number of years. It ended and a new commitment is coming forward, a new benefit commitment is coming forward.
6394 MR. FILTHAUT: If I could just clarify one point.
6395 It wasn't a million dollar development fund. It was a million dollar fund. There was an element of that that was development.
6396 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: It is just listed in the decision under "Program Development." So as it developed, so to speak, it may have been used for other purposes but it certainly was so described in the decision.
6397 In CFCN Calgary, a question that may have been answered earlier through Vice-Chair Wylie, Schedule 10, I understand you are currently doing 19 hours of local news over the last license term.
6398 MS McDOUGALL: Yes, we are.
6399 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So the 15 and a half hours would appear to be a reduction.
6400 MS McDOUGALL: Yes, and I think Trina did answer that when she said that is the minimum.
6401 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Yes. So it is a minimum.
6402 MS McDOUGALL: Yes.
6403 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So do you expect to continue to do 19?
6404 MS McDOUGALL: Yes, we absolutely are going to continue to do 19.
6405 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: You understand it is important because now we are also looking at this news carrying a definition, if you will, that may help us understand how local reflection is really being served.
6406 In your Schedule 5 you have listed as local production something that caught my eye, documentaries, 30 minutes, various scheduling, various topical interests. Could you describe these and where they turn up on the schedule of the local station?
6407 MS McDOUGALL: We have a producer, anchor/producer Barb Higgins and she has a very great interest in different women's issues and different relationship issues. So she produces shows with independent producers sometimes and sometimes with the station's facilities. We run these in prime time. We have offered them to the network. We have produced in the last three or four years probably four of them. We have also worked with the CTV Western Development Office to do the Sheldon Kennedy documentary.
6408 So we have run, "Running on Empty," "Sexpectations," "Every Parents' Nightmare," "The Sheldon Kennedy Documentary," and those are the types of shows we do. We commit to one to two a year depending on what subject matter she decides to do.
6409 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But I would have thought that -- correct me if I misunderstood you -- that documentary the way it is listed as local production would be a documentary about the local area, a local story, which was innovative in terms of all the other local program lists we have had. I just wondered if -- is it then money that disappears, if you will, into larger pieces that are for national distribution or is it for local?
6410 MS McDOUGALL: Oh, no, it's local. We produce it locally. It's just that nationally they have chosen to air them because they thought they were a quality that was of interest to all people. I mean interests in Calgary are often the same interests that people have right across the country.
6411 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I see.
6412 MS McQUEEN: If I could just add that for instance "Running on Empty," although it was a subject that I think would be of interest to most Canadians, the characters in it were all Albertans, Calgarians and in general it was shot entirely in the area and it represented, I guess, a particular, call it local example of a national problem.
6413 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Don't misunderstand me. I don't have any problem with that; quite the opposite and that has been a considerable part of broadcastings' difficulties over the last several years is having programming from across the country nationally see you.
6414 MS McDOUGALL: We actually it is as a great positive to have our shows show up on the network.
6415 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: The $50,000 development money that is in your hands -- that is correct? You have the $50,000.
6416 MS McDOUGALL: Yes. Yes.
6417 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: In terms again, and maybe you want to share this answer if you work together, but you have separate $50,000 each, Edmonton and Calgary. How is it managed? I am particularly interested in your approach to cultural diversity in managing the program development fund and what steps you take to promote its availability and to perhaps look at a diversity of writers and scripts.
6418 MS McDOUGALL: We have a supervising producer, Gord Enno, he has 30 years plus as a director, a producer and he looks at all the scripts. The decision is made based on what we feel they will -- how they will go forward as a development and then I also look at them and I read them. I spent a lot of years in programming.
6419 We don't identify them in any specific way. Of course, we are all aware of diversity issues and children's issues and those types of issues, but we really do judge them based on their merit of how we think how successful they will be.
6420 MR. FILTHAUT: If I can in terms of maybe some of the promotion because that was one of your questions, both of our stations in Calgary and in Edmonton have our staff, some of our senior people that have -- are members of the AMPIA, which is the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association. It tends that all the people that are interested in producing or becoming producers or writers or directors are members of that association.
6421 So there is a good conduit there in terms of the stations being aware of who is out in the marketplace and vice versa. So I think it works very well.
6422 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I was interested because you did make a point earlier about the multi-cultural nature of your programming, your efforts in this regard, and as my colleague said, we have not missed that and it is most impressive.
6423 But as you know as well, the important thing is to let people know that this funding is available and to go that extra mile where there are -- certainly the past has told us that often doors may not be as open as we think they are to those who are not part of the established group. So in that sense there may be efforts that are needed to make sure that that diversity carries over into the future as well in your programming.
6424 MR. FILTHAUT: I have one further thing to add too and part of the BCE benefits, what we are doing in Edmonton is we are creating scholarships at both NAIT, which is the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Grant McEwen. A couple of the specific things that we will do is there will be scholarships for aboriginal students in journalism, there will be cultural diversity scholarships and there will also be scholarships for court reporting because court reporters become good closed-captioning people.
6425 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you very much. Thank you.
6426 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Pennefather.
6427 So we will take our lunch break now and since we seem to be sort of back on schedule, or at least the schedule we had anticipated earlier in the week, we will take a break until two o'clock and then we will spend the entire afternoon on British Columbia.
6428 But before we do that, Commission counsel has one request/clarification to make.
6429 MS MOORE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
6430 As you are no doubt aware, yesterday CanWest Global agreed to file on Monday morning a draft code to address concerns regarding editorial independence and diversity of voices in the broadcasting sector, which can arise from cross-media ownership.
6431 CanWest Global stated that the draft code would include a Watchdog Committee mechanism and a complaint mechanism and we would like to know if CTV will commit to file its own proposed draft code on Monday morning copying the appearing intervenors?
6432 MR. FECAN: Thank you and if I might take that on.
6433 I think you understand it is a pretty important issue to us and I also think, as a Commission, you are aware for many years, we were of the view, rightly or wrongly, and I guess it was due to historical conditions, that we operated under more onerous regulatory obligations than CanWest as a result of the CTV network license and all of that.
6434 We believe that your new television policy and the station group process that it creates is a more equitable regime. We have told you strongly that we really support the TV policy.
6435 When we began developing our applications for this renewal, we knew that you would wish to deal with the issue of cross-media ownership. It was in the PN; there is no surprise. We developed and presented to you in our application and deficiencies what we believe is a comprehensive, and for us, a very restrictive set of principles. We discussed those principles with you on Wednesday.
6436 Of course, yesterday we listened with interest to your discussion with CanWest and they presented you with certain commitments orally. Obviously we haven't seen the written paper but just listening to it orally, these commitments appear to us to be much less restrictive and much less comprehensive than the ones we had proposed, even though in our minds, at least, the fact that CanWest owns local newspapers throughout the countries creates different dimensions of issues to those raised by our own application.
6437 If the commitments proposed by CanWest are acceptable to the Commission, then we believe that we should not be bound by more onerous requirements. In fact, we believe it would be unfair and inappropriate to place more stringent requirements on CTV than you place on CanWest. We think, without having seen the specifics of their proposal, we can agree to the same commitments which CanWest put forward yesterday. As I have said, we find it very difficult to contemplate accepting more stringent commitments than CanWest.
6438 So how do we think is the fairest way to proceed?
6439 CanWest has had the advantage of being able to review the elaborate and comprehensive commitments we set forward in our applications and deficiencies before they came forward with their own commitments yesterday. CanWest also had the advantage of listening to all of your questions to us on Tuesday and Wednesday on this issue before they gave you their commitments yesterday.
6440 You have heard from us today that we are prepared to make the same commitments as CanWest made yesterday, if we understand them properly, and to include those commitments as a code. If CanWest is prepared to accept the approach we set out in our deficiency response and described to you Wednesday as part of a code, then we will accept it as well.
6441 However, because we are very uncomfortable and not willing to accept more stringent requirements than CanWest, we believe, in the interest of fairness in these circumstances, that it makes little sense to draft our own code at this point in time. In order to move this process forward, we are prepared to give you this commitment: that we will review the code that CanWest files by 9:00 a.m. Monday and provide you with written comments by noon Monday on the CanWest code.
6442 Incidentally, based on what we heard yesterday, and the commitments that CanWest put before you yesterday, I fully anticipate that we will be prepared to commit to the code which CanWest has undertaken to file Monday morning.
6443 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Fecan, this is not meant from our point of view to be any sort of competition between CTV and CanWest Global. We are struggling with this issue, as are a lot of people. As I tried to indicate yesterday, notwithstanding what we read in the press, the Commission is trying to approach this whole issue with an open mind. There are a lot of people who have very strong opinions on both sides of this question, and while it may be true that Global had an opportunity to listen to the questions that we put to you the other day, the fact is, both you and Global had an opportunity to listen to the questions that we put in Montreal several weeks ago, and indeed had an opportunity to see the code that had been put in place between Québecor and TQS a couple of years ago.
6444 We are struggling with how best to deal with this question. We have not concluded yet how we should do that, nor did we conclude from the discussion that took place yesterday whether in fact the commitments that Global made were necessarily the conclusion that we would have.
6445 I think our view at this time is that it would be helpful to our decision process not simply to rely on whether or not you would be prepared to agree to whatever Global would be prepared to put forward, but we would like to have your views as to what might be an appropriate code under the circumstances.
6446 If in your view that simply ends up being a summary in one-page code form of what you have already filed with the Commission, in light of the discussion we have had and the exchange you had with Vice-Chair Wylie -- which, I would like to remind everybody, we take issues and assign them to members when we come to these proceedings. We are all struggling with the issue and trying to get as much of the facts on the table as we can to help us struggle through this and reach a decision. These aren't just the views of an individual member who happens to be put forward reflecting their own particular position on an issue.
6447 So it would be helpful to us if you could put together in your mind what you think is appropriate, in your circumstances, for us to be able to have something in front of us to deal with. Because it may well be, at the end of the day, that we conclude there is a mix of different points of view.
6448 It is kind of ironic, I find, that one of the things we are struggling with on this very issue is diversity, and there are different points of view on this particular issue as well. So it would be helpful for us, for our decision process, if you could address that and come forward with your suggested code.
6449 It may well be simply a restatement of what you have already filed, and if, as a result of all the discussion we have had, that is still your point of view, then that's fine.
6450 MR. FECAN: If you would be so kind as to give us the privilege to consider what you have said over lunch and get back to you immediately at the break of 90 minutes, I would be very grateful for that.
6451 We do understand that it is very important and we do intend to abide by the principles we put forward. However, we do have a very competitive situation. We understand that this isn't a competitive hearing, but it is a competitive situation with CanWest and, rightly or wrongly, we feel that we have had more of a burden from a regulatory point of view than they have had, and that sort of policy has ended all of that and we now can see them as honourable competitors, and we are kind of going forward on the same basis.
6452 So, from a competitive point of view, it is incredibly important to us that whatever the rules are, great, but they are for both of us in these kinds of circumstances.
6453 THE CHAIRPERSON: I absolutely agree. We want to be equitable. All I am saying is, they may put forward a code and you may put forward a different code. Ultimately, we may come up with no code, the same code, or whatever. But the same code -- it may well not be us -- we will pick CTV's or Global's, or neither for that matter. But if we can have different points of view on the table to help us through this decision process, then we will all be better for it at the end of the day, I would hope.
6454 MR. FECAN: I think that you have clarified the request to me. I understand the request much better now. Thank you.
6455 As I said, if you would grant us the opportunity to caucus over lunch, we will get back to you right at the top of the afternoon.
6456 MS McQUEEN: Could I ask one other question, Commissioner, just to help our deliberations over the lunch break.
6457 I take it from what you have said that you will not be asking us in this circumstance, then, whether we would accept the code we put forward as a condition of licence, because you are looking at these codes as models from which you might choose.
6458 THE CHAIRPERSON: We may or may not.
6459 MS McQUEEN: Okay, thank you. That's helpful.
6460 THE CHAIRPERSON: With that, then, we will take our lunch break.
6461 I would note that we had indicated that we would hear one of the intervenors this afternoon, that being NBRS, so we will want to advise them that it will be probably mid-afternoon that we would be hearing them.
6462 With that, we will take our lunch break and reconvene at 2:00 p.m.
--- Upon recessing at 1235 / Suspension à 1235
--- Upon resuming at 1400 / Reprise à 1400
6463 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back to our proceeding.
6464 Before I turn to my colleague, Commissioner Grauer, who has some questions respecting the British Columbia local television stations, Mr. Fecan, do you have anything you wish to report at this time?
6465 MR. FECAN: Yes, thank you, Chairman Colville. Thank you, also, for your explanation of the context of the question. We would be pleased to file a draft code Monday at 9:00 a.m.
6466 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. We appreciate that.
6467 With that, I will turn to Commissioner Grauer.
6468 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you. I wonder if the best way to approach this discussion about VTV isn't to reflect on the last, I guess, three and a half years since it was licensed and talk a bit about what the goals of the Commission were with respect to the licensing and the competitive hearing -- your application -- and then to talk a bit about what has happened and how it is working for the community and you and whatnot.
6469 I would like to make a point of recalling that in the decision and in the call the Commission identified a number of issues that were of primary importance with respect to the competitive process, which included the contribution that the proposed services would make to the objectives of the Act, and in particular to the production of local and regional programming, and note that the further preoccupation of the Commission has been to encourage the growth of a strong independent production industry in all regions of Canada -- that was when Vancouver, I guess, used to be a region -- and having the capability to create programs in these categories that reflect the regions to themselves in an adequate manner, but also having sufficient quality and interest to ensure they are broadcast in Canada's other regions.
6470 On that note, I wonder if you could talk a bit about the impact you have had, your experience there, the response of the community to the station, keeping in mind the context of some of those and the other objectives when the station was licensed.
6471 MS McQUEEN: Thank you, Commissioner. It is interesting that you would want to do that, because we have -- and I say this for the convenience of the reporter -- on our panel Susanne Boyce, who, as you know, was there at the beginning, and Bill Mustos, who has been much involved in some of the independent production that has gone on in British Columbia.
6472 Would you like us to start by talking about the initial approach to --
6473 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: No, I am going to leave it to you. Why don't you talk about that, and then, maybe, as we go along, if there are areas that I want to explore, we can do that.
6474 MS McQUEEN: Okay. Here is a suggestion, and you can let me know.
6475 Let me start by saying how we see ourselves now, sitting here on April 20, and the condition of VTV.
6476 Three and a half years ago we applied for an independent station, and the group here was successful in obtaining that station, and we put on the table a number of commitments which relate exactly to what you have read from the Broadcasting Act and the Commission's deliberations.
6477 We feel that we have complied with those, both the letter and very much the spirit of them.
6478 Since the licensing of VTV as an independent station -- at that time, as you know, BCTV was a CTV affiliate in that market -- events occurred, not of our own wishing, and BCTV was sold to someone else and it no longer is our affiliate in that market.
6479 We now will proceed to make VTV the "replacement" for BCTV, or at least the replacement for CTV's service in that market. I guess we now see that we are no longer that independent station. We are now the affiliate of CTV in the market, and we take with that the obligations for being the CTV affiliate in that market.
6480 But because it was a change, we have agreed among ourselves to present to you a list of commitments that we will continue to keep from the days when we did have an independent station, as well as taking on the CTV affiliation.
6481 I would like Mr. Hurst to start by talking about what that station will do in terms of its local commitments.
6482 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Before we do that, I actually do have some specific questions with respect to those licensing commitments, which I was going to get to later. Just so we understand each other, I do have some specific questions on that, but if you want to go through this first and we can get to the other later, that is fine with me.
6483 MS McQUEEN: We defer to you, Commissioner. If you want to ask them now --
6484 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I would rather wait, actually.
6485 MS McQUEEN: It's kind of an "After you, Alfonse" --
6486 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Is it?
6487 I would actually prefer to have this discussion and go through a couple of other issues, and then get to those specifics.
6488 MS McQUEEN: What would you like us to do now?
6489 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Tell your story.
6490 MR. HURST: Thank you, Commissioner Grauer.
6491 I think, really, what you are looking for here is a report on how we have done in the last three and a half years, and I want to paint a bit of an overview, very briefly, for you, and then ask Louise Clark to go through the specific categories that the Commission was looking to address when it licensed VTV four years ago.
6492 You mentioned three things in reading from the call: local and regional programming; growth of the independent sector; telling regions to each other.
6493 I would put, as a journalist, a couple of key words on that. You were looking to energize British Columbia, and specifically the lower mainland, in Vancouver, that had been largely under served by conventional over-the-air broadcasters, especially the independent sector -- this is what I think you were looking for -- in an area where the film community had a lot of expertise and there were a lot of creative people.
6494 I think we have had great success in energizing the local independent production community -- creative people and script writers and producers -- through documentaries and dramatic productions, and Louise will take you through some of those.
6495 There are two other things that I think you were looking for, and Ivan spoke about this earlier today. We were looking to create, both in Halifax and in Vancouver, those so-called on-ramps, or, as our producers sometimes call it, trying to avoid the $3,000 cup of coffee to fly in here or into Toronto. And I think we have done that, admirably so.
6496 By creating local programming through the independent sector and through our own creative talent in our station, through an enormous amount of local programming that we have done over the last three or four years, I think we have been very successful in adding another voice to British Columbia, which is a very diverse voice in Vancouver, in the lower mainland, and as Louise goes through the programs that we have produced, are producing and will continue to produce, I think you will see that the voice of Vancouver and the lower mainland to the national stage, in a short three and a half year time period, has been, quite frankly, an extraordinary accomplishment that we are very proud of.
6497 Louise? I think we are looking for a report.
6498 MS CLARK: Good afternoon. I happened to be around for start-up, even though I didn't take this position until June 1998, I believe.
6499 Before there was a station and before there was an office, there was a blank slate on Georgia Street, a couple of chairs and a few empty rooms, and cartons and cartons and cartons of proposals, many of them, I think, relating to every under represented category you can think of.
6500 I remember sitting around tables with the couple of characters to my right here, trying to read through all of this stuff to figure out how to bring this extraordinary licence into being, as it affected the independent production community.
6501 One of the things that was required and one of the things that made it really exciting was speed; that we had to move quickly in order to get some of this programming together to get it up on the air.
6502 We had one carton of documentaries, and bizarrely they all seemed to be about water. There were certain trends in programming that seemed to be happening.
6503 The things that really stick in my mind are that "Cold Squad" was already in development; "Smudge" was already down the road; "Eyes of a Cowboy" we were reading drafts of scripts on it.
6504 These are a number of productions that have all gone on to become storytellers in the first instance.
6505 A documentary that brought the first real attention to Vancouver's downtown east side by Robert Duncan, called "V6A 1N6" had such an extraordinary response from the local community that both the municipal and provincial governments ended up stepping up to the plate with some actual funds, that had probably been talked about but had not actually hit the table until there was the feedback from this documentary.
6506 So very early on, I would say within the first few months of going to air, those were the kinds of things that were happening.
6507 So was there an impact? Yes. And was it wonderfully positive? Yes.
6508 I think that continued on throughout the three and a half years. I can certainly speak to other highlights in terms of actual programs.
6509 I think some of the other ones that I really enjoyed because they did sort of take advantage of telling a regional or a local story, in particular "Cache 22", which was a documentary about tree planting by a first-time film maker. She struggled with it, and she did an incredible job at the end of the day with it. It is one of the most entertaining documentaries we had. It ended up running nationally as well.
6510 Some of my favourite scenes involved a couple of characters on a couch in the middle of a B.C. forest discussing why their mothers had insisted they go out and get a job, and tents set up along the site of the tree planters. You could not actually see what was going on in the tent. You could see a shadow and people were tap dancing out in the B.C. Interior.
6511 There were some wonderful moments unique to both Vancouver and British Columbia that have now been sent out to the rest of the country.
6512 On the drama side, obviously "Cold Squad" had an incredible impact, both in terms of seeing Vancouver and allowing all that talent to be exercised, and exercised well. It is now the longest running Canadian series on television. It is still on the air, which is another wonderful achievement.
6513 I think it is getting better every year, and I think there are a few people out there who would agree with me, including members of the audience.
6514 I just got an e-mail yesterday from my travel agent saying that she had just watched the episode last week and thought it was hilarious; the two detectives were discussing the Air Canada merger. She took great delight in having a Canadian experience be a part of the drama that she was watching.
6515 I am going to stop listing examples now, unless you would like to hear more.
6516 I would agree with you that the stimulation to a community that had had very little in a long time was an extraordinary boost to the community. We are looking forward to building on that as we move forward.
6517 MR. HURST: One of the questions I don't think we answered -- and this is my area, not Louise's, which is local reflection and Vancouver and British Columbia voices to the national stage.
6518 We have been producing, and continue to produce today, a one-hour weekly talk show program from Vancouver. It is the "Vicki Gabereau" show.
6519 It is done from the corner of Robson and Burrard. In the back of Vicki's set, there is an apartment block across the street that I think has probably become a national symbol for a voice from Vancouver, because I see people from the rest of the country walking in front of our station looking across and pointing up to this apartment building that is in fact a part of our set.
6520 In addition to a daily, Monday to Friday, one-hour program, we also produce an "Aboriginal Affairs" program every week for 30 minutes. That goes to the national audience, produced at our house.
6521 We also produce a 30-minute public affairs show called "Robert Mason Lee".
6522 In addition to that, we of course do an immense amount of local news and public affairs programming and have a huge challenge, as you know, Commissioner Grauer, in the British Columbia market.
6523 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: One of the things we have been talking about over the past couple of days that has evolved is the sort of struggle and challenge that we are having in looking at the issues of news and non-news local reflection and what that means and how that is being executed by broadcasters.
6524 One element of this which is certainly of great interest to me is the role -- and it is not a bureaucratic issue because I do think it is a question of together learning how to really evaluate some programs like "Vicki Gabereau", "Mason Lee On The Edge" and "First Story Programs" which, of a place, are very much identifiably of a place but also perform what I consider to be an enormously important role in being a voice in a reflection of that place but in a Canadian context.
6525 They are not so narrowly regional or local as to not have a national appeal.
6526 I wonder if you could talk to me a bit about that and in particular whether there are any particular issues and challenges involved in producing programs like that locally for a national audience.
6527 There is no question that Ontario is the dominant centre of English language Canada, with huge audiences, and they are going to dominate the Canadian broadcasting system. There is no issue.
6528 But to the extent that we all have goals to try to show more of it, I wonder if you have -- I don't think anybody has tried to do what you are now doing for some time, and I wonder if you could talk about anything that is particularly challenging or rewarding or difficult.
6529 MR. HURST: Doing these programs for the national audience specifically.
6530 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Yes, from a region: Vancouver or Halifax or Edmonton, wherever.
6531 You are in Vancouver, so I suppose that is the example.
6532 MR. HURST: I would love to say there are no problems.
6533 Susanne Boyce, you may want to chime in here in a moment.
6534 That was kind of an open-ended question. There are a lot of problems, and I will tell you straight away that one of the problems is the cost of delivery.
6535 From British Columbia I suppose this has been one of our problems from the start of Confederation. Be it shipping this or shipping that, the heartland has been in the east. The manufacturing base has been in the east.
6536 We in television have a problem of distance as well. The cost of telecommunications is coming down, and coming down dramatically and making it, I think, somewhat easier for us to be able to produce from British Columbia a daily show like the "Vicki Gabereau" show.
6537 I will tell you that in the world of telecommunications we actually -- and I hope I am not breaking a secret here -- ship Vicki's show to Toronto. In a day when we are sending telecommunications around the world and news stories around the world in a matter of minutes by buying satellite lines and fibre lines, it is still an expensive proposition.
6538 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Why?
6539 MR. HURST: It comes down to the question of cost.
6540 As in television programming, it is always the question of the idea; the idea for the viewers and then matching to that idea and the viewers a budget and a cost.
6541 We think producing these three programs out of British Columbia is absolutely the right thing to do. The budgets are very good for these programs, and the viewership is solid for these programs. Therefore, it makes it economically sound for us to do it.
6542 But that is just one of the things that I think is an issue and a problem -- not an insurmountable problem.
6543 You also asked me what some delights are of these two programs.
6544 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: If you will indulge me, I would have assumed that production costs would be the same no matter where you produce a program.
6545 When you talk about shipping, I am assuming that means satellite delivery. So the question is: Does it have to go to Toronto to then be redistributed? What are the incremental costs?
6546 I think it is important to understand, if we want to see more of this, what the cost implications are.
6547 MR. HURST: I think you do ask an excellent question. When I mean shipping the "Vicki Gabereau" show, I mean the mail.
6548 It is couriered. We courier the program.
6549 The fact is that satellite time and telecommunications lines, like long distance phone lines, it is time and distance. The farther away you are from the centre, the more costly it becomes.
6550 There are different costs in different parts of the region because of a whole bunch of various issues. But you had asked me about one problem in British Columbia and --
6551 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I wondered if you had specifics. I don't need to know the exact amount, but what would be the percentage of the budget that would incrementally make this kind of a program more expensive to do for Vancouver as opposed to Toronto.
6552 MS McQUEEN: We have the creator of the Vicki show here. She probably used to put it in the mail personally.
6553 MS BOYCE: In this case, in fact, we incurred the cost of transmitting live, much to her chagrin at the time -- and I think Vicki would concur. I wore my producer hat and felt very strongly that Vicki Gabereau was like someone many years ago that I produced, a person called Jack Webster, who did not get access to the national stage and I felt of course should have.
6554 Vicki didn't really want to go live. I felt that in order for Vicki to be comfortable with the medium of television, it was imperative that she do so. And she just delivered in spades.
6555 The cost of that was dear for a daily morning program. So to make her feel comfortable at that next stage, we then taped. It was a production issue, ensuring costs for "Noon News" and trying to make the costs come down. So that was the cost issue.
6556 In terms of actually going live or tape, that was in Vicki's case different. It was a creative reason for doing live off the top.
6557 I will say one quick thing and then I will stop, because I am almost too close to this place.
6558 When Ivan said -- and it happens a lot in CTV -- would you go to Vancouver for a couple of weeks -- and my spouse said he means for a while -- there really was nothing but a dream.
6559 I know sometimes I am called Tinkerbell -- although I wish I were that small. You just kind of clap your hands and hope it all works. You hire people.
6560 What do we want to do, as you pointed out, Commissioner Grauer? Really, we each had separate dreams and then we had a communal one, which was to get drama on the screen from British Columbia. And I am happy to say, going forward, we have three series, "Cold Squad", "Mysterious Ways" and "Dymyna Leagues". That is three and a half years later. It was to really concentrate on emerging talent.
6561 Louise has done almost short of a miraculous job in that regard.
6562 For me personally, it was to kind of get Jack to smile. In the middle of that summer we found out that we were in the process of swapping with CHUM. So Vicki 15 or 16 years later was going to be seen nationally. That was critical.
6563 The other point -- and I know I am going on -- is that I didn't want to see an ocean or a mountain in a kind of stereotype. I wanted to see that vibrant community called Vancouver. So that little building was very critical because Vancouver is many things.
6564 Vicki is a marvellous addition.
6565 The other was "First Story". I am very proud of the work that was done by a group of creators. And then the independent community we invited to participate and hopefully we see that on the air both locally and then nationally.
6566 MR. HURST: I just wanted to tell one quick story because you asked also for an impression or a nice story. I will tell it very quickly. It is really not very complicated.
6567 Vicki one morning six or seven weeks ago -- and her set is on the same floor where my office is and it often gets very loud. One day I said "Who is on the show today" and I was told "Oh, it's just some pianist from Nanaimo". Then about 45 minutes later when they were up and rolling it was Diana Krall and I was just -- it was just fantastic.
6568 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Just so I understand this, because I'm curious myself because we talk a lot about these things, the costs involved, then, were satellite delivery cost, which is now not the case because you ship it.
6569 So, in other words, at this point, then, there aren't any incremental costs involved in doing a show from --
6570 MR. MUSTOS: I think I had better jump in.
6571 When it comes to independent production, in particular drama production, there is no more expensive city in the country than Vancouver. It is wickedly expensive. Every time we look at doing a movie or a series there we go through a very difficult process of budgeting the costs for doing the show there versus other cities in the west, other cities in eastern Canada. The union rates are very, very high compared to even Toronto.
6572 What you have is a very vibrant television and feature film community that has had the privilege of working on a lot of American productions that have chosen to shoot in Vancouver. The technicians, the creators, the actors, et cetera, I think sometimes struggle with the idea of doing a Canadian production which is going to pay them less.
6573 I think one of the things that has been so fantastic about the arrival of VTV is that there has been a kind of body of development and production that has happened that has proven to be creatively interesting for people to choose to work on.
6574 More and more we are finding that the community in Vancouver is actually willing to work on a Canadian production, be paid less, because it is actually more rewarding for them creatively, they are not just servicing an American production that is blowing into town and then blowing out again.
6575 Louise, I don't know if you want to add to that.
6576 MS CLARK: No. I think that is a completely accurate picture. Just as far as producing within the station goes, you are going to find cost variances across the country that are dependent on, obviously, a number of factors.
6577 MR. HURST: I think one of the advantages that -- in spite of the high union costs, one of the advantages is we now have a facility here in downtown Vancouver and we can provide some of that infrastructure support.
6578 We did for a couple of seasons a "Double Exposure" comedy program. Their offices were in our facility. Their telephones were in our facility. If they needed tape or they need this, or they needed to bring material from somewhere across the country, we now have that infrastructure to be able to bring the material. So it is significantly helpful to have that home base.
6579 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: If I can just get back and satisfy for myself, this issue of the tension between the service production revenues and the indigenous production.
6580 I suppose who you are really talking about is not the writers -- like a lot of the creative talent, or is it technical staff as much as anything, or where is the cost issue? Because it is important for me to really understand where these tensions are in order to be able to understand the overall issue.
6581 MR. MUSTOS: I will start. Louise, you may want to jump in.
6582 The big feature films and the series that come into Vancouver do draw largely from the technical talent base, the crews. The acting community, usually the second and tertiary actors. Usually the scripts have been written by Americans, most of the time.
6583 But what has been happening in the last few years is Vancouver has become quite a hotbed of creative activity, in part because of what Louise is doing out of her office, in part because of some of the other things that have started to spring up in Vancouver as well.
6584 So what we are being enabled to do is work the creative muscle, the real creative muscle like the writers and the directors who have been able to sometimes move from other disciplines. You might have an AD, an assistant director who has worked on an American series who then becomes -- who moves up the food chain as he works on or she works on a Canadian series.
6585 You have people who are making those kinds of choices that they would rather work in a Canadian context than go for the bigger dollars that might be available on an American production.
6586 You know, what I think we are also beginning to see is the possibility of being able to lure back from L.A. some of the people who have gone there, people who have had success, who have come from Vancouver and Toronto and elsewhere who have migrated to Los Angeles and being enticed back to Vancouver and elsewhere to work because the material here is sometimes more rewarding.
6587 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I am starting to hear glimmers of that. There are a few people who have moved back.
6588 I think part of what I have heard -- and this is anecdotal, it is not anything more than that -- is that in some respects because we have maintained the independent production sector being independent that down south they don't have the same flexibility and creativity to do the kind of work they really want to do so there is a feeling of more freedom.
6589 I don't know if that is what you are hearing, but that is -- when I say "anecdotal" I'm saying I don't have a lot of examples.
6590 MR MUSTOS: I think that is absolutely correct.
6591 MS McQUEEN: There is also the possibility of moving up. You saw in our video the young man who did "Dymyna Leagues" who had been doing one level of job for the Americans, but we were able to offer him a creative promotion which was what really appealed to him. So that is one of the ways you can get around it.
6592 MR. FECAN: Commissioner Grauer, the other thing I would like to say is because the complexion of American production out of Vancouver is different from the complexion of American production elsewhere in the country there are much more regular series, U.S. series in Vancouver. Toronto might have more features from time to time, but not anywhere the number of series, U.S.-controlled series, that are service produced in Vancouver.
6593 I think what is also happening, which maybe isn't as positive as what we have been hearing, is because in a series you often have the creative people, while they are based in L.A., might be spending more time on location than they would otherwise and they are finding our writers and they are finding our story editors.
6594 I can think of people like Hart Hanson who was a real stalwart among the Vancouver story editor writers and they discovered Hart. We knew he was around for a while, but they discovered him and they lured him down.
6595 So it is two things, it is the crews are very busy There is intense competition for crews. That may change this particular summer if there is a strike. It may be quite a different matter.
6596 But aside from that the crews are incredibly busy. And they are discovering our actors, but they are also discovering our writers a lot more.
6597 So some of the strongest writers that we may have built as a system -- I don't mean VTV, VTV has only been around for a few years -- are being lured back.
6598 But then there are other examples like Chris Haddak who, you know, was lured down and then thought that he -- you know, he just didn't have the freedom, as you kind of alluded to, came back and is responsible for "Da Vinci's Inquest" on CBC. I remember doing "Mom P.I." with him before he was lured back.
6599 So there are writers now being drawn down as well and that worries me a bit more.
6600 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I know we are on a bit of a sideline here, but I guess the real challenge, then, for us is to really understand what -- I mean to the extent the Commission can do anything, one of the things we need really to be concerned about and what you think the big issues coming down the pipe are, and certainly for me it is of interest that your commitments are going to end and that we retain this -- that we don't lose the momentum we have developed there.
6601 MR. FECAN: And I would agree with you. It is absolutely critical for anyone who pretends to be a national broadcaster to have a very, strong -- I hope we do more than pretend it -- that we have a very strong on ramp.
6602 In Vancouver it was the belief that that was what VTV was to do that. Whether it is an independent station with the characteristics of an independent station or a CTV station with obligations -- and I think they are great obligations. Like "Canada AM", I mean I call it an obligation, I don't know if it is written down anywhere as a commitment, but we think that is a really important show for the country.
6603 You know, VTV had a breakfast show, or still does, but there is only one stick there. You have to chose between one or the other. Since we have come along -- and I presume there will be a few other applications in front of you -- other people have decided to do breakfast shows, but there is no room for "Canada AM" unless we do it, unless we give that exposure.
6604 But we can't ever allow it to return to the way it was before where it was made in central Canada and shipped west. It has to have elements to maintain that momentum. It is very important to all of us, because we don't want to lose the kind of goodwill and the kind of excitement that I think we have been part of with the independent community and with the artists of Vancouver.
6605 MR. MUSTOS: I would just like to add one thing, and that is that in Louise Clark the west has an incredible champion. She has brought writers to our attention.
6606 We were laughing about this at lunch. I mean not only is Louise spending the $200,000 that she has in development for the west, but there has been a whole pile of money from Toronto that has come out of the Toronto development office that has been flowing west to --
6607 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Shush!
--- Laughter / Rires
6608 MR. FECAN: I agree.
6609 MR. MUSTOS: But it is because she has found writers who she has brought to our attention. We have tried working with them on one project which has led to another project and this kind of creative -- I don't know what you call it, just the kind of excitement and electricity that kind of travels back and forth between our offices is absolutely fantastic.
6610 I think that even as the benefits come to an end, I mean I see very little changing in our relationship with Louise and in terms of Louise's relationship with the western production community.
6611 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Since you have raised that point, I mean obviously I think it is really important.
6612 I don't know if you heard my discussion with Loren Mawhinney yesterday -- I don't think any of us want to get stuck into some quota arrangement or anything.
6613 I think that notwithstanding it is a point which -- things will cycle. I think all of the producers I have talked to, everybody acknowledges that. I think the question is that it not just cycle one way, which is what I think a lot of the western producers have been concerned about.
6614 I don't know if you want to -- you had mentioned a willingness to file reports and it struck me that it might be useful to get together the major private conventional stations, CFTPA and some of the other organizations with ourselves, and see if we can identify some indices and look at things over a period of years so that it is constructive, it is transparent and maybe we can address some of these real or perceived anxieties that exist.
6615 MS McQUEEN: I think one of the points that you have been making which is a really good one is that what you want to have is a system that has some kind of base to it. In other words, it isn't a kind of rollercoaster, one day there are benefits and the next day there isn't. I think that is really important.
6616 That was one of the focuses of the BCE benefits, was to try to break this constant funding cycle which is the source of so much anxiety about whether there will be money or whether there won't be money and to try to make programs that can succeed on a commercial basis.
6617 I know that is a tough thing to do, but I think some of the things that have been happening in British Columbia, even the American production which, after all, has produced talented people and has given people opportunities, give us a sense that there is a way to keep that base working.
6618 When I look at your fund, the fund you got from Global -- I'm sorry, the CUIP Fund I guess it's called -- when I look at the BCE benefits there will be benefits coming from CHUM, and so on and so forth.
6619 There is an opportunity over the next seven years to ask ourselves maybe in the kind of format that you are talking about is how can these be translated so that when they end, as all benefits do, there is something. And to me what the something has to be is -- one of the most important things is producers with track records of delivering audience-attractive programs.
6620 That's what we should be concentrating on finding at the end. I think we also need to concentrate on the other end of the scale at a continued investment that some of this benefit money has to go to professional development and training because that will keep the flow going and I think if we have said Louise Clark once during this process, we have said a thousand times.
6621 But the important thing in this business is relationships and to have somebody who is trusted by the network boffins in Toronto, in Vancouver or in Halifax -- and we hope in other places coming up to -- is another important benefit that has to be ongoing and I don't know if you would like to hear what we see as the ongoing parts of the VTV commitment --
6622 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I have one more question.
6623 MS McQUEEN: Okay.
6624 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Maybe the way to do this is I have some specific questions of what was before that I need to make sure I understand and then we can see what is lost between what I have and what you have.
6625 MR. FECAN: Commissioner Grauer, just to answer your earlier question, reports make sense. We understand that the facts illuminate for all parties, and that would be fine if we could find some way collaboratively with you and all parties concerned.
6626 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: That's great. I'm sure we will hear from the intervenors next week, but it seems like it might be a sensible approach.
6627 When you talked about relationships it seems to me when you look at the success stories of the independent production community in this country what you have is companies that have formed relationships with broadcasters who have nurtured them and developed their creative talent and their business expertise and that's where the success has been.
6628 So I mean it just seems obvious to me and that's why I think the important role the broadcasters have to play in this whole equation.
6629 I just have one quick question and this again is with respect to community reflection, cultural diversity, particularly on, let's say the national screens.
6630 I remember reading anecdotally that "Cold Squad" had originally had an oriental cast in a prominent role -- and I read this in a newspaper so it may or may not be true.
--- Laughter / Rires
6631 MS BOYCE: You weren't watching!
6632 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Perhaps not.
6633 This didn't resonate with audiences in Ontario which were so important and, therefore, because this wasn't part of the cultural makeup there, this had to be edited out of the program.
6634 So you are shaking your head. That's good. So it's not true.
6635 MS CLARK: No, it's not true. I know that -- I think I have seen something close to that. I mean, there was a number of episodes in season one and two that actually did relate to the Asian community, but in terms of the principal cast, no, that's not true.
6636 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Back to just briefly this issue of the role of shows like "Robert Mason Lee" and "First Story" and our struggle with the extent to which they do reflect the community, but they are national shows and this is a bureaucratic question, but I don't want to go along a bureaucratic trail, but it's something like it's not coded L as well as G and I'm told in a very cursory way by our staff that it could be coded L.
6637 Is this -- I'm not sure that it makes a huge difference, but you know in other words to us it's --
6638 MR. HURST: Does it make a huge difference to you?
6639 MR. FECAN: You know, when we were building the station -- and this is such an important point about that station in particular -- but when we were building it, I remember sitting down with Robert Mason Lee, and I think Susanne Boyce was there too, and we were talking about what we might do and everything and his big thing was -- I think he was actually a columnist at the Globe at the time -- he did not want to be pigeonholed as a view from the west. He felt, quite rightly, that British Colombians had very reason and every right to participate in the national discourse without being pigeonholed as a view from the west.
6640 Nevertheless, it is still from the west so when we were designing shows like these we did not want to say to them, "Well, look, you know you can't talk about any national issues. You can only talk about British Columbia issues".
6641 We wanted to say, "Look, we are interested in what opinion leaders in this community have to say because they don't get a voice nationally that much and we are not going to pigeonhole you as a view from the west". That was part of the philosophy of the shows we were building, and it speaks to your point. It is both local and of interest to people nationally.
6642 More importantly, it provides an opportunity for people who happen and love to live in British Columbia to be part of the national discourse.
6643 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Yes, and this is, I guess, something that, as I say, if it's not coded L in our logs, it kind of doesn't end up being counted as local, but of course it's very much from that place.
6644 So thank you.
6645 MS McQUEEN: And of course, you can't obviously watch everything and know what every program is and isn't about. So we understand that you rely on the kind of coding in the reports to give you that macro sense of what is going on.
6646 Maybe one of the solutions is to try and have some kind of double coding. But then your people would have to figure out how you would do that, what elements would allow it to be the double-coded thing. But we understand because it's in our interest to be able to let you know in some efficient way. It was the same thing on the news this morning that we were talking about: what exactly that program is doing in terms of the viewers.
6647 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I mean, I know what's on the shows because I live there and I watch television in British Columbia. So I know, and I think it's more even than just a coding issue. It's really an issue of as the private television has evolved and changed and we are seeing more of this, you know -- without getting too regulatory. I don't want to have the discussion here. We just need to kind of maybe try to look at these a bit differently and make sure that -- because they are valuable and we need to sort of value them in a way that's reflected somehow in all this.
6648 Thank you.
6649 Now, we can get to -- did you have anything you wanted to add -- some of my questions. The store-front bureaus. I know that as part of the commitments and then as a result of when you were licensed, you established the six store-front community bureaus and then closed five, retained Victoria, and I understand from the deficiency letter that the resources were reallocated to the "Breakfast Show", I believe.
6650 I'm just wondering what was the experience you were having that led to the closure and how you subsequently reflect those various communities.
6651 MR. HURST: Commissioner Grauer, let me explain. I think the reason for the closure was -- we were quite frankly suffering a year and a half ago, a couple of summers ago, a bit of an economic downturn, and at that time we closed most of the suburban bureaus.
6652 Let me report to you now that we have reopened Lonsdale Key. That's in North Vancouver. We never gave up the rent there. Last week, we have reopened our Surrey bureau. We have hired two people who are going to job share, both of whom live in Surrey. As we are going to build our news and public affairs department at VTV as we become a CTV affiliate with the big CTV news pipe, we are going to look at opening another bureau perhaps in the Richmond or Delta area or south of the Fraser River, perhaps as far as White Rock.
6653 I think the experience is that these suburban bureaus are important. I will admit to you that I think perhaps we didn't design them right in the rush to get this new station to air and hire so many people. I think in retrospect that was wrong and we are moving now from the principle that because of the unique geographical makeup of Vancouver where the downtown is on Little Spit-Burrard Inlet and large parts of the community are up the valley, we have a huge issue about getting to those stories quickly.
6654 So we have developed a principle to reopen the suburban bureaus and the principle is simply founded on if you live in that community, we would like you to consider us to be the reporter.
6655 Our new Surrey bureau where we have just hired these new reporters, both of these reporters live in Surrey and as that is successful -- and we are putting equipment to it and we are actually looking at building a microwave receiving tower in Hainey, up the river, because there are parts of the lower mainland like Abbotsford, for example, that you can't get a live signal out of if there is a breaking news story on a line feed. And then we are going to in the fall look at opening a bureau at White Rock area, Delta or Richmond.
6656 These are important and we believe that especially in the lower mainland you do your best reporting work when you live in the community and you live the story.
6657 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
6658 This is probably a good time -- what I would like to do, and I want to go back to where we started and that's with respect to the commitments as taken from the original licensing decision -- the original licence which was due to expire in 2002.
6659 There has, as you say, been some -- I don't know if you could call it confusion -- concerns raised by intervenors, concerns ourselves about the extent to which these commitments are to be, or in your view, are met.
6660 So I wonder if I could go through some of them and get you to answer perhaps some of our questions.
6661 MS McQUEEN: And the question is whether we are now compliant with those --
6662 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Well, I don't think it's compliant. I think the question is if I say these were offered on an annual basis, with a licence that was to expire in 2002, what is the status, for instance?
6663 MS McQUEEN: Okay. It's the status of the benefits --
6664 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I will be very specific. Why don't you wait until I get to the question and then you can ask me what I mean. How is that?
--- Laughter / Rires
6665 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: VTV will commission production of the "Storytellers", a development series to be aired across the system consisting of 20 half-hour dramas produced by independent producers and apparently only eight have been produced and the question is: As a consequence of it joining the CTV network, CiVT does not intend to extend the "Storytellers" series into the new licence term. I think we had a question about what that meant.
6666 MR. HURST: Louise.
6667 MS CLARK: I think the actual number, Commissioner, is ten "Storytellers". There is a little bit of confusion sometimes about "The Genius" which was the first episode of "Mentors" which went on to a series. It was kind of a like a little "Storytellers" pilot. So that kind of clears up that confusion.
6668 Basically going forward we are looking at -- I think the simplest way to put it is we are looking at the broader expectations of the original Vancouver licence and so I'm not sure whether we should go down this list or whether I should make a little speech here for a second.
6669 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Why don't we say, okay, let's put that aside. I will go through my list and we can find out where we are.
6670 MS McQUEEN: I guess for us, and whatever you would like to do is your judgement, but for us it would be probably easier if we go through and find out what the status of these benefits are, and then in a second set of questions, you could find out what the ongoing thing is because some of these things are so convoluted, as Louise was trying to do with the translation thing, that it might be easier to say, "Here is the status" and then "Here is what we are going to do going forward". Just a suggestion.
6671 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Well, why don't you try it.
6672 MS McQUEEN: Not a good one.
6673 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: See if that answers our questions, and then if doesn't we can go back.
6674 MS McQUEEN: Okay.
6675 Well, I don't know whether you have the same list of benefits as we do, so maybe we should --
6676 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: This is the problem.
6677 MS McQUEEN: Yes. Maybe we should work off yours and you can do down yours.
6678 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Okay. I have a number here, for instance, the news bureaus, some of the issues which were around the hours a week like first play local programming, which I think those kinds of things which aren't sort of specific hours of production or local programming, we have talked a fair amount in general. So we can leave that.
"To acquire from arms-length Canadian producers a minimum of 121 hours a year of original Canadian programming including 95 hours of such programming commissioned from independent producers in British Columbia." (As read)
6679 MS McQUEEN: Louise.
6680 MS CLARK: Well, you have, I think a good record of years one, two and three on both of those.
6681 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Correct.
6682 MS CLARK: So I think a quick summary would be that we have met and on occasion exceeded those hours.
6683 But what we are doing in 2000/2001 in the 95-hour territory is, starting with the sort of big drama guns at the top, we have got 2000/2001 which I guess is the equivalent of year four for the purposes of this conversation, "Cold Squad," 20 episodes which gives us 20 hours, "Mysterious Ways," 22 episodes which gives us 22 hours.
6684 I should just pause here for a moment, on behalf of my colleagues, Commissioner Wylie, point out to you that "Mysterious Ways" it does appear on the national schedule Monday nights at eight o'clock and would make a little red block there. I promised them I would do that.
--- Laughter / Rires
6685 MS CLARK: Okay. Back to my list. "Magician's House," which began as a family drama and one of which we are inordinately proud of six half hours has gone on to produce two movies of the week, which contributes another three hours. "Dymyna Leagues", which are 13 half hour episodes gives us six and a half hours and we have 12 documentaries licensed in 2000/2001, each an hour in length which adds up to 63.5 hours.
6686 Then just to kind of cover up the same kind of overarching turf, if we take a look at either of the other expenditure --
6687 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Why don't we go through the hours because don't we want to get to 95 per year?
6688 MS CLARK: Well, I think --
6689 MS McQUEEN: Can I just say the overarching thing, here is how we are approaching this.
6690 We think that our status is an independent station and therefore these commitments ended when our condition of license was removed starting September the 1st and we went to the priority programming regime. What we have done going forward is not to say we are just going to drop the whole barrel of commitments but to attempt to ease out of the independent -- the commitments from an independent situation to the commitments from the affiliate situation.
6691 So although we won't reach the -- our feeling was that because we are doing the priority programming this year and a number of other things, we are not probably going to do the 95 hours this year or next year. But we will do some of the 95 hours and we will spend the money in general that was part of that commitment.
6692 But frankly we were faced with a situation where we don't have an independent station any longer. We have a CTV station. We are moving into those commitments and what we are trying to do is fashion a transition from the old status to the new status. So instead of 95, 64 this year and 50 the next year.
6693 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I'm not sure to be honest that I understand the relationship between commitments made as part of a competitive process that were key to being awarded a license, that I'm not sure how not fulfilling those commitments is related to going from an independent to a CTV station?
6694 MS McQUEEN: Well, our belief is that we made those commitments, right, in a competitive situation specifically for the acquisition of an independent station. At the time we applied we were a CTV affiliate and we were going also for an independent station and we made the commitments that we did and got the license.
6695 Circumstances have conspired to, in effect, remove that station from the market. This is no longer a VTV station that is an independent station. It has been replaced by an affiliated station. The commitments that we made as an independent station, to our mind, our condition of license has been eliminated by you and we have now been made responsible for the commitments that used to be on BCTV.
6696 So again what we are trying to do is transition from those benefits to the commitments. So we are now taking on kind of the full load of CTV priority programming commitments and other commitments as a CTV-affiliated station or an owned and operated station, plus we are taking -- we are continuing with a number of the VTV benefits as a kind of belief system in that this is the honourable thing to do. But we don't see ourselves having kind of two sets of obligations now put on one station.
6697 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: When we were having the discussions on day one about the overall station group synergies, the group renewal, as I recall, the discussion about VTV becoming a CTV station was the huge benefits this would bring. You weren't going to be limited to the 40 hours. You were now going to have the benefit of the entire schedule, the promotion opportunities. This was going to be good news for everybody.
6698 So I am not sure what specifically are the obligations involved in becoming a CTV station that are so troubling with respect to these commitments that were key to you winning a license?
6699 MS McQUEEN: They are not troubling to us. We accept the priority programming commitments enthusiastically and we will do them well.
6700 There are a number -- you are absolutely right, there are a number of good news items about becoming a CTV-owned and operated station. There are also some difficulties. I think Global told you yesterday that as a result of having BCTV their revenue is going to go up by -- what number did they use? -- $27 million. That $27 million obviously is partly lost to us. We net out some of the expenses that we don't have but we still have -- our analysis is that there is a $12 million revenue hit by being -- by the transfer.
6701 So I guess the position that we are taking is that we are now in a different station situation. We are a CTV-owned and operated station, not an independent station. That being said, there are a great many of the VTV benefits that we are continuing and will continue. But we don't see ourselves as able to meet every single obligation of both the CTV license and the independent license.
6702 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Why don't you tell me where they conflict? Where do you collide with respect to your inability to meet CTV commitments and your inability to meet VTV commitments? Maybe that is a good place to start.
6703 MS McQUEEN: Well, there are some conflicts and there are others that I would describe as a double burden of commitments where it is not so much that they conflict but the financial burden is doubled in exercising the commitment. Bob.
6704 MR. HURST: Well, it's simply on the programming side, "Canada AM" is a simple example. We run three hours, two and a half hours now, of a morning breakfast show. We can't fit both "Canada AM" and the "Breakfast Show" in the same time slots.
6705 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: That is not my question. I don't have an issue.
6706 The issue is 95 hours of programming commissioned from independent producers in British Columbia.
6707 MS McQUEEN: Louise, do you want to take that one.
6708 MS CLARK: Yes. I think if I could finish where I was going here, it might help to illuminate this conversation.
6709 So the list, just to remind everybody, brought us to about 63 and a half, call it 64 hours of programming for the 2000/2001 season. The corresponding license fees, Commissioner Grauer, are 8.1, almost 8.2.
6710 If I go back to the original license and look at some of the overarching expenditure commitments and they are expressed twice. Once as sort of -- if we are talking about B.C. producers in particular here, 50 per cent of the 53 million expenditure, which is 26.5 and that relates to category seven, eight and nine, or the under-represented categories as they were in 1997. Then there is a second commitment, which is very similar but not precisely, which is 28 million to B.C. producers in the categories of drama, children's and documentaries.
6711 Now, happily documentaries are now considered under-represented programming. So we have a nice mesh there going forward.
6712 But I think what we were hoping to demonstrate with this slate of B.C. production in the current season is that while we may not be doing precisely the number of hours that we did on a combination of platforms which was local, western and national, what we have here is a slate of high quality, network, prime time programming all from British Columbia.
6713 We think that is a terrific fit with the new public policy and it builds on the successes of the Vancouver license that we were talking about, to my mind, beautifully and it's what makes it an exciting time to go forward because we can build on the successes of the original expectations. We can embrace the public policy and we can deliver, both to the community and to a national audience, everything that we hoped to do.
6714 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So if I could just get back here because I really do want to be able to understand this, the annual commitments were -- let's say you were going to do 121 hours of your original Canadian programming, so that is not an issue. Right. But the 95 hours commissioned from independent producers in British Columbia is an issue.
6715 So the question is, what you are saying to me -- if I understand you. Let me tell you what I understand and then you can tell me if I am wrong or right.
6716 You are at 64, I think, or somewhere around there and then you are of the view that the other programming that you do that originates in British Columbia, those three programs we talked about earlier that go on to national, should make up for the gap of the 30 hours?
6717 MS CLARK: Actually, all of the programming, all of the 64 hours, one of my points I'm hoping to make is that it is all national, prime time programming.
6718 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Oh, I see what you are saying. You are saying that --
6719 MS CLARK: We are raising the bar here. We are taking all the programming.
6720 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: You are saying all the 95 hours will be for national broadcast -- no, 64 will be for national broadcast.
6721 MS CLARK: Thank you.
6722 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: And so rather than a commitment of 95, which might -- which could be small just for local broadcast, you are of the view that for the two years -- is this what you are talking about going to 64 for the last two years of these annual commitments?
6723 MS CLARK: Well, I think that is a discussion to be had, you know, exactly how that will play out. But I think the second part of --
6724 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Well, I want to make sure I have got this part.
6725 So what you are telling me then is at least for one year you are of the view that the 64 hours because they are of higher value, because they are all going for national broadcast, that you would like to be -- you would like us to forgive the 30 given that you are doing them for national broadcast. Is that what you are saying?
6726 MS CLARK: I don't know about forgiveness but --
6727 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: You would like to be excused. You would like to be excused from having to do the 30?
6728 MS CLARK: Well, I can't speak to the regulatory.
6729 MS McQUEEN: I think frankly what we are saying is that this is offered to you not as part of the old benefits that apply to VTV which we now consider -- and I know that you have a different opinion on this -- which we now consider have gone, but we are offering you over and above our benefits as a CTV-owned and operated station this number of benefits particular to B.C., which is the 64 hours of priority programming -- or national programming, I should say -- and $8 million worth of spending in this particular year, and then an ongoing commitment next year, as well.
6730 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: For the same number of hours?
6731 MS McQUEEN: No, for 50 hours and $6.8 million. That is what it looks like we will be spending in 2001.
6732 MS CLARK: I should interject, just for clarity. That second set of numbers is an ongoing scenario. It is where we are at now, in terms of what we have licensed and committed to for that season, and does not yet include any licensing of national documentaries, because we haven't hit that financing season yet.
6733 MS McQUEEN: So I stand corrected. That is a minimum number and it is the number that we are planning now.
6734 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So the minimum number of 50 you are proposing --
6735 We can have a difference of language here, but --
6736 MR. MUSTOS: I had better jump in to clarify one thing; that is, these are shows that we have committed to right now, that we have issued contracts on, but they are pending funding from other organizations, and anything could happen in the next couple of weeks that could throw even into jeopardy some of these 50 hours.
6737 MS McQUEEN: We are hoping it won't, but it is the CTF season and they haven't given their commitments yet.
6738 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: But the principal concern that the Commission has is: What has happened to these commitments?
6739 Whether the funding comes through or not is not necessarily relevant to what you do or don't consider your obligations to be and what we may or may not consider the obligations to be.
6740 MS CLARK: Commissioner Grauer, the intention of this presentation was simply to give you a picture of how we are moving forward, given the regulatory shifts and the changes in the landscape that have happened in Vancouver.
6741 It was just to paint a picture and not to propose particular --
6742 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: But you did. You identified what you were going to do.
6743 MS CLARK: Absolutely.
6744 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Now what I would like to be clear on is the money. I am not quite sure what you were saying. When you tied some funds to this, I am not quite sure what that meant with respect to the --
6745 MS CLARK: There are two distinct -- there are more than two, but the two I am going to refer to are the expenditure commitments that relate specifically to B.C. producers --
6746 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Right.
6747 MS CLARK: That is one that is first described as a commitment to independent Canadian programming, which is $53 million, and a reference following that, which states that 50 per cent of that to B.C. producers. And then the second overarching expenditure requirement that relates to B.C. producers --
6748 I'm sorry, I should step back for one moment and say that those were for the under represented categories, 7, 8 and 9.
6749 The second figure is $28 million, which goes to B.C. producers in the categories of drama, children's and documentaries.
6750 So they are very close. And now I think we could safely say that 7, 8 and 9 -- drama, children's and documentaries -- children's has its own special issues, but these are all viable genres that we would like to proceed with.
6751 So that works out to roughly -- taking the higher number, divided over a seven-year licence term -- about $4 million a year.
6752 A big part of the picture I wanted to paint for you was that those 64 hours cost $8.2 million.
6753 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: What I would like to know is, where are we with respect to half of the $53 million over seven years to B.C. independent producers and where are we with respect to the $28 million over seven years?
6754 What I am more interested in is not what is represented in the hours, but where you are with respect to these commitments in terms of spending and what are your plans with the balance that is outstanding.
6755 MS CLARK: I have the figures in front of me, but Robin is better at reading them sometimes.
6756 I am happy to start, if you would like, Robin.
6757 MR. FILLINGHAM: This is the $53 million over seven years, categories 7, 8 and 9, 50 per cent to go to B.C. producers?
6758 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Yes.
6759 MR. FILLINGHAM: I am assuming this list is the B.C. producers. It should total around $20.5 million after three years.
6760 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: That is where you are to date on that --
6761 MR. FILLINGHAM: After three years, yes.
6762 This doesn't pick up anything in year 2001.
6763 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I wonder if it wouldn't be useful, even though they are separate commitments, to figure out what is half of 53 --
6764 MR. FILLINGHAM: I'm sorry, it continues on the next page. It is 24.1.
6765 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Of that amount.
6766 MR. FILLINGHAM: Yes.
6767 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: And of the 28?
6768 MR. FILLINGHAM: 16.393, after three years.
6769 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So we have some outstanding balances.
6770 MR. FILLINGHAM: Yes. Those are three-year totals; well in excess of the four per year, but it is only three years in.
6771 MS CLARK: I think there was something in one of the deficiencies relating to that number regarding $400,000, relating to children's programming, "Charlie Horse", "Music Pizza".
6772 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Right.
6773 MS CLARK: I think that has been dealt with.
6774 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Maybe a really easy question would be: These were commitments offered over a seven-year period. They are a total number. Do you intend to meet those commitments?
6775 MS McQUEEN: The answer is "not completely". We would give you the exact number that we intend to meet if there is a break and we can total up the math, because I think we are not doing it particularly clearly in terms of what you need to know.
6776 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: By all means, we can do that, but what I might want to draw your attention to before we break is, when we talked -- and I know that this is going to seem like a sidebar, but you just mentioned the $12 million revenue hit that you are going to take when this switches over. I believe that is the figure you used. We talked a bit about this yesterday.
6777 When I went through the deficiencies, in fact, you were asked about this one-time downward adjustment of $12 million -- it is on page 20 of -- I'm not sure what day -- but you reviewed the situation with CHAN and CHEK and what is happening when, and then the last sentence is: The loss of revenue should be offset by cost savings achieved by CIBT as it becomes a full member of the CTV family and the elimination of contractual payments currently made to CHAN and CHEK for airtime.
6778 This 12 was something I was wanting to talk about when we got to the other issue. I think that maybe we do have some numbers.
6779 Do you want to take a break?
6780 Why don't we do it this way? If you would like, we could go on and talk about the other issue, and some of you maybe could go and work on it.
6781 I was having trouble with my math yesterday, so ...
6782 Except, I suppose that you need --
6783 MR. FILLINGHAM: I guess I need some clarification on what particular numbers we are --
6784 MS McQUEEN: I think what we need to know is how much of the two commitments -- the $53 million commitment and the $28 million commitment -- are we going to tell the Commission we will meet.
6785 I think the second thing that we need to do is explain a little bit the deficiency answer, where we said how we were going to make up those expenses.
6786 I don't know which of us you can spare to do that.
6787 MR. FILLINGHAM: I can answer the deficiency one right now, actually. I mean, contractually there are time payments that will fall off, from the change in the network affiliation, totalling about $8 million. And, in effect, the $4 million really is a reduction, and most of it, I think, really reduced the sports and the non-Canadian because there is certain programming now that we will not need to acquire for that 40 hours.
6788 MS McQUEEN: But, Robin, you were also assuming that we would not be paying those benefits in those numbers; correct?
6789 MR. FILLINGHAM: Yes.
6790 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: The problem I have with the deficiency -- and maybe I don't understand -- is that it basically says that the lost revenue should be offset by cost savings. And cost savings, presumably, are becoming a full member and the elimination of contractual payments -- the cost savings not having to fulfil all of the benefit expenditures. Is that the cost savings?
6791 MR. FILLINGHAM: No, they are unrelated.
6792 Under the CTV affiliation arrangements, when we contracted with BCTV, CHAN and CHEK to, in a sense, run the 40-hour network service, the compensation returned to those stations was a contractual payment plus two minutes of airtime that the station would receive in those 40 hours.
6793 So, in effect, I think the deficiency response, as I recall, talks about 400 minutes, which is really dealing with the loss of inventory of 40 hours -- 10 minutes each hour -- and the other two minutes used to go to, say, CHAN and CHEK, as part of the compensation, in addition to this contractual payment.
6794 Those contractual payments will, of course, not be paid next year, and used to be dealt with as an expense.
6795 MS McQUEEN: But there is a further --
6796 When you were making up those numbers, Robin, I just want to be absolutely clear of our cost going forward over this licence period. You did not include the continued payment of benefits that we are talking about in each of those years.
6797 MR. FILLINGHAM: The benefits from a transfer of ownership really come down the line.
6798 The level of production work that is inherent in our current year, and mostly in the year 2000, is really all projected to carry forward.
6799 So, in effect, a lot of this production work that we have heard talked about is in the numbers going forward, just translated to really represent the cost of the eight hours of priority going forward.
6800 So, in effect -- and I come back again to this reduction of the $12 million -- I think if you look in the financials, really, what you do see, because some of those replacement hours are sports -- currently there is Vancouver Canucks hockey, and I guess the Grizzlies used to -- but that, of course, has been reduced as well, as part of the cost savings of this other $4 million, besides the drop of the $8 million on contractual payments that used to be made to the BCTV affiliates out there.
6801 So the $12 million reduction isn't necessarily just a drop in these benefits at all. The level of former 7, 8 and 9 programming, if you like, really hasn't changed; it's moving forward. Because that 40 hours that drops off also had a non-Canadian component, where we used to acquire a lot of CHUM programming and strip programming to fill that 40.
6802 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I understand the hours that are going forward, so I don't have a lot of questions about the overall hours that are Canadian, and I don't have a question about the overall hours -- or expenditures to Canadian, because I know those are going to be made. You have to spend money to buy programming.
6803 What I am concerned about are the specific commitments to B.C. producers and to B.C. programming. That is the only piece to me that is important, because I don't know if it is going to happen. The others I know will happen; these I don't know will happen, unless these commitments are fulfilled. And as you know, we have had representations from intervenors on the question of this --
6804 MS CLARK: Can I just add for further clarity that I think we should be -- or I certainly do use the language of western Canadian producers and not just B.C., because the original promises of the licence stretched beyond British Columbia.
6805 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Some did.
6806 MR. FECAN: If I might jump in with a couple of things, let's talk about the 95-hour expectation. I think that is what it was, an expectation.
6807 If that were all in prime time, for instance, I think the issue of balance would also be interesting here, because then I think the majority of eight hours as a program group would come from British Columbia. I am not sure how fair that is to the rest of the country.
6808 I guess the other issue is, you can't deal with this in isolation with the rest of the system in British Columbia, because the system has evolved in British Columbia. And of course it is very important for the creative community in British Columbia and the CRTC to look at how the system is balanced within a community, and I don't know how you deal with the idea that all of the balance that made sense at the time, with the facts at the time, should be precisely the way it was then, when we really have a very different situation today.
6809 I would suggest that it is very important that when you look at the net of the new things that have been happened in the last year, and potentially in the next year, in that market, if that is an increase and the system has balanced itself within that community, I don't know that any one part of that can remain static in isolation to the rest.
6810 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: If I may, I think there are two issues. I think the issue with respect to saying that the 95 hours will now be 60-whatever of peak time programming broadcast across the country -- there is some give and take that we may want to consider.
6811 But I think the other issue that is really important -- and I think it goes to commitments that were made in the competitive process. I think it goes to some of the discussions that we had the other day about "trust us". I think it goes to the fact that, yes, things have evolved and they have changed. But, you know, they have evolved and changed in a lot of different ways.
6812 You evolved and changed in ways that your competitors weren't expecting. They have evolved and changed in ways that maybe don't please you terribly. This happens.
6813 And I think, really, the issue also for us is, what does it mean when people make commitments and those are key considerations for us in awarding a licence, and then a few years later they say: I'm sorry, we don't really want to do this because this happened and that happened?
6814 I think the other issue is, things may have changed in British Columbia -- and it was the marketplace at work in many respects -- but the whole reason for having this hearing and hearing these renewals as a group was to talk about group synergies and how they work together in every market of the country. In some you are dominant, and then there are other areas.
6815 So I think that there is a complex set of issues here. I don't know that just to look at British Columbia alone and some of the issues you have raised is --
6816 MS McQUEEN: We agree that it is a complex bunch of issues, and we agree that we haven't done very well in conveying to you exactly what we see our ongoing commitment is, but what we are trying to do is to look at the system in British Columbia with the new funds that are coming in, the new players that are in it, and we are trying to find what our responsibility is.
6817 What we think our responsibility is, number one, is to assume the obligations of the CTV station in this market, and number two, to transition our exit from being an independent station in a way that the other elements of the system that are coming on and that will replace some of those benefits -- that there is no stop gap.
6818 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I guess we have canvassed this pretty fully. The only thing I am not clear on is, what are the benefits to British Columbia of the move of CTV from where it was to where it is going to be?
6819 MS McQUEEN: The benefits to British Columbia are continuing to have a CTV station in the marketplace.
6820 I think that is the basic benefit; that there will continue to be a CTV station with the CTV list of priority programs and all the other commitments that are in place.
6821 As well, there is the national exposure obviously for certain of the programs, and there is the list of benefits that we will continue to maintain. So I guess those are the benefits.
6822 Primary among them is the fact that B.C. continues to have a CTV service.
6823 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you. I have one other question on this, and then I have a couple of questions on the other issue.
6824 It is on the role of the council.
6825 Could you tell me the kinds of activities and initiatives and recommendations they have made to you with respect to the programming, cultural diversity and community reflection.
6826 MR. HURST: Continuously. For Commissioners who may not know, we have a community council in Vancouver. We meet about every six to eight weeks. It is really up to the chairman of the council and me to decide what we are going to talk about, what our agenda is and how we can reflect the community, what kind of programming we are doing, both in a negatively critical and a positively critical way.
6827 We are actually supposed to have our next meeting on Thursday, but I don't think I am going to be back in time. So we are going to put that over to the following week where we are going to have the community council evaluate and critique our provincial election day by day coverage.
6828 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Do they make recommendations to you about programs and how do you deal with that feedback?
6829 How meaningful a role does that have?
6830 MR. HURST: Let me say it is not a formal process. There is a lot of discussion at the community council about "gosh, we should do a program on this", "gosh, we should do a program on that". Our chairman is a great aficionado of ballet. He and I have discussions and arguments about ballet from Vancouver on the national stage.
6831 I will tell you that the community council as a vehicle to present story ideas to go to Louise's development office, that is really not what it is for.
6832 If there were to be a wonderful idea that came through the community council, that everybody thought this was a great idea and Louise and I had talked about it, then it would go to her.
6833 The community council is not precluded from proposing programming ideas, but it is not really their fundamental goal.
6834 MS CLARK: I might be able to add something to that, just because I have attended a few more of these meetings than Bob has had a chance to yet.
6835 I think a good example of a role they played is sitting down with a sweaty-browed news staff and going through, blow by blow, the news and making their comments from their various perspectives and offering different approaches from sort of community-based points of view.
6836 I think coming up we did get a very interesting proposal from Sam Sullivan. Again, it is not about an independent production, but it is about making sure that we are aware of a specific event.
6837 It is, I think, the world's first international -- I think that is the word I am looking for -- festival of handicap performers that is going to be taking place this summer in Vancouver in the Plaza of Nations. It was great that he brought it to our attention. It is an absolutely extraordinary line-up of talent that we hope we are going to be able to cover and do a good job with.
6838 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you. Those are all of my programming questions with respect to VTV.
6839 I have a couple of questions again with respect to the service to the B.C. Interior issue.
6840 You submitted a document to us the other day with a lot of very specific financial information. I am wondering what the source of the information is and what the methodology is that you used to put it together.
6841 MR. HURST: Jim MacDonald, could you come up?
6842 Several people worked on this in the short few hours that you gave us to file it. We needed to put it in a presentation form for you.
6844 MR. MacDONALD: Thank you very much, Robert.
6845 Commissioner Grauer, just to make sure that we are on the same page, so to speak, I am assuming that you are working on the one called "Revenue Within the B.C. Interior"?
6846 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Correct.
6847 MR. MacDONALD: The vast majority of the financial information has come from TVB. In fact, everything is from TVB, and the extrapolation -- you will see where we have put percentage of hours tuned. That is based on BBM.
6848 Everything has been really extrapolated from a total market basis, from using as much factual information that was available to us. We know what the total network revenue is, and we certainly know what the CTV revenue is. We took percentage of hours tuned as a basic calculation to extrapolate the revenues that were projected within the Interior.
6849 Even though, as I said to you yesterday, when you have the kind of dominance that CHBC does, it probably translates to better than 60 per cent -- in other words, the hours tuned would probably translate to a higher percentage of revenue.
6850 In fairness, we used the straight number across the board.
6851 We used that percentage to take down the local number, which is again TVB. The regional/national split was really based on our own experience, and we just took it at 50/50.
6852 We might have argued that national selective might have been looked at differently than regional, but we did not want to get into splitting hairs. So all of the numbers that we discussed yesterday were the addition of regional and national selective. Therefore, it was sort of immaterial what the actual split was.
6853 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Your specific numbers -- and what I would like to do is leave CHBC out of this, for obvious reasons, in that it is a Global station and I think it is more important, certainly.
6854 These revenue figures, local, regional, national, selective, where did -- these are not the numbers, by the way. These are from TVB?
6855 MR. MacDONALD: That is correct.
6856 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So TVB gives you the revenues of the stations in Kamloops, Prince George, Terrace, Dawson Creek and Kelowna?
6857 MR. MacDONALD: No, not broken down like that.
6858 I think Rob Dillworth should come up and join us, because he got into the specifics.
6859 What we have attempted to do is -- everything here is projected. We don't have access to your data files, although we would love to. What we have tried to do is to use industry numbers to break it down.
6860 The primary numbers are from TVB, and the extrapolations, as I have said, are based on known percentages.
6861 In the case of allocating the actual revenue, it was based on percentages of hours tuned, which we felt was the fairest means of allocating revenue.
6862 Do you have anything else to add, Rob?
6863 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: It was important to understand where that came from, so I am glad I do.
6864 MR. MacDONALD: Could I just add one last thing?
6865 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Sure.
6866 MR. MacDONALD: I think this is important.
6867 When you see the line after we have totalled up the regional, national and selective in the market, we have used a projected 5 per cent impact. I want to make it clear that that was an entirely -- I won't say it was an arbitrary number, but I hope we made it clear yesterday that that was based on our experience in northern Ontario, and we don't really have anything else to go by.
6868 The most important thing I hope that we conveyed was that there is going to be impact on the local stations as a result of all the changes that have happened in the marketplace. As Trina said, this is not one thing.
6869 I said that all of the CTV programming was not in the market. Forty hours of it is. As Mr. Tomik said yesterday, there is more programming from CTV. That is absolutely correct.
6870 By the same token, there is a significant amount of new Global programming coming into the market and, as you know, that has to be factored in. Because of your understanding of broadcasting, you will know that when you take the kinds of shows that BCTV will now have and combine that with the BCTV news lead-in, there is no question that there are going to be a lot of changes as a result.
6871 We did not in any way, shape or form want to quibble with the impact analysis that had been done by the stations, but we certainly wanted to make it clear that we did not see CTV standing alone in that impact.
6872 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: What I would like to do is ask you a couple of questions, and it should not take too long.
6873 What would be the financial impact on CIVT if you were to enter into an agreement with the intervenor stations similar to the agreement they now have with CHAN?
6874 MR. MacDONALD: This would be to assume that CTV built transmitters?
6875 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Let's assume we can get over these transmitter issues. Let's just assume that those things are looked after or can be resolved.
6876 MR. MacDONALD: I just want to make sure I understand the question.
6877 If we entered into an agreement with the Interior stations similar to the agreement that exists right now with BCTV and/or -- and I think this would be important -- the CBC agreement, which is a different agreement --
6878 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Yes. The only question I am asking is about the one with CHAN, BCTV.
6879 MR. MacDONALD: I would want to get back to you on that.
6880 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: All right.
6881 MR. MacDONALD: If you were talking about the CBC agreement, then I would say that the impact would be minimal because those spots would run on the network.
6882 If we were into a position where we were essentially -- or I should say potentially deleting spots out of our network broadcast, then that would be a different ballgame. There is certainly no problem with local. There is not going to be any incremental revenue at all from local.
6883 I think that we would be very flexible on a definition of regional, as long as it didn't impact on network advertising.
6884 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: The only advertising that is currently involved with the current arrangement, if I understand it, is regional advertising.
6885 MR. MacDONALD: No, that is not correct.
6886 All of the local spots are covered -- to the best of my knowledge, it is the local spots plus the regional spots. And the regional definition that was used I guess some 30-odd years ago was anything that was a franchise.
6887 I think there were some definitions that said anything that had a door qualified. As you can appreciate, that would create some issues for us.
6888 You pointed this out I think on day one, Commissioner Grauer, that there are a lot of definitions of regional, exceeded only by the definitions of local.
6889 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Really, what I am trying to get at here is what is the potential for some sort of agreement similar. I guess there are two elements of that.
6890 If an agreement could be reached between you and the intervenors to permit the substitution of Vancouver local and B.C. regional ads, with advertising sold by the intervenor station, do you know what cost the cable companies in the markets would incur to perform this substitution?
6891 MR. MacDONALD: No, we don't. But believe it or not, we anticipated that question -- just to get it back to the theme of the hearing -- and we are looking at it. It is not an answer that we want to give you off the cuff. It needs to be studied.
6892 We have had the chance to talk briefly with our Vice-President of Engineering. Although it appears on the surface to be relatively simple, there are also a number of potential complexities.
6893 If you will allow us, we could undertake to do that.
6894 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: What would be the financial impact if the Commission were to apply a condition of licence precluding you from soliciting regional advertising?
6895 MR. MacDONALD: Again, the main impact would be your definition of regional advertising. If you defined regional advertising, as an example, as advertisers that were limited to the province of British Columbia, then I think that -- I am just the humble consultant, but I would probably recommend to my client that that was a possible solution.
6896 If you got into a more extended definition of regional, then I think it could be a major problem.
6897 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Let's talk about the definition as it exists currently with CHAN and the intervenors.
6898 MR. FILLINGHAM: Commissioner, if I might.
6899 One of the things we could look at, and we started to last night, is a situation I guess similar that exists down in ASN in Newfoundland to institute a form of deletion of CIVT regional commercials to go in there.
6900 That could probably be covered by a promo, if you like, right at the cable head-ends. It is a bit of an engineering trick, but we should be able to do that right from the master control in Vancouver. That would reduce that spill problem going into those small markets and could be perhaps a solution. But we would need to speak to the cable companies on that.
6901 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: And the intervenors maybe?
6902 MR. FILLINGHAM: Yes.
6903 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Okay. Thank you.
6904 We will look forward to, I guess, the next phase of this.
6905 Thank you.
6906 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Grauer.
6908 MR. WILSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
6909 I just have one question to follow up on some comments from Mr. MacDonald this morning.
6910 I just wanted to confirm our understanding. Did we understand correctly that there are now agreements in principle to ensure continuation of CTV's service to Kenora, Lloydminster, Thunder Bay and Newfoundland. Is that correct?
6911 MR. MacDONALD: That's correct.
6912 MR. WILSON: Have those agreements in principle been reduced to writing yet?
6913 MR. MacDONALD: Yes, they have. Well, let me qualify that.
6914 The agreement with Thunder Bay is signed and the Commission should have received a letter today withdrawing -- or indicating that and also withdrawing their intervention.
6915 Kenora is in the process of being signed and faxed.
6916 Lloydminster is an agreement in principle subject to the principals getting back from Hawaii.
--- Laughter / Rires
6917 MR. MacDONALD: We are having all the fun I guess.
--- Laughter / Rires
6918 MR. MacDONALD: With respect to NTV, as you know the issues that were outlined in their intervention were twofold.
6919 One was with respect to the request that ASN be allowed to move advertising into Newfoundland.
6920 The second issue was with respect to the disaffiliation issues.
6921 We have reached accord on both of those issues with NTV and letters will be exchanged this afternoon.
6922 I would like to make it clear, though, that in the case of NTV we have structured a one-year agreement giving us the opportunity to address all of the different issues that they outlined in their memorandum with the intent and certainly with the spirit of trying to negotiate a five-year or longer agreement.
6923 MR. WILSON: Would it be possible to have copies of those agreements filed with us?
6924 MR. MacDONALD: I can certainly file the Thunder Bay agreement. I would request, though, that the Commission would treat those as confidential.
6925 I would be happy to file the NTV agreement when it is completed. At this point it is an understanding between the parties and I expect that you will receive a letter either this afternoon or first thing Monday from NTV withdrawing their appearing intervention as well.
6926 MR. WILSON: So you could file abridged versions, though, onto the public record?
6927 MR. MacDONALD: Yes, we could do that.
6928 THE CHAIRPERSON: Those are all your questions, counsel?
6929 MR. WILSON: Yes.
6930 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you give us some indication of you mentioned about two parts of the understanding with Newfoundland. The part dealing with the ASN advertising, what is the nature and substance of the understanding?
6931 MR. MacDONALD: In the intervention regarding ASN, it was suggested that this was not the appropriate forum to discuss a condition of license on Cable Atlantic and we have concurred with that and requested the Commission to withdraw any consideration of that at this hearing.
6932 Furthermore, we have undertaken that before asking Cable Atlantic to make any filing we have undertaken to review it with NTV and make sure that we go forward with their concurrence if at all possible.
6933 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6934 Well, I think that completes this phase of our proceeding.
6935 I want to thank all of the participants representing all of the stations across the country representing CTV. I think we have had a good, serious and sometimes humorous discussion of the issues. I think it has considerably helped our understanding, particularly of this local reflection issue that we have discussed both in terms of definition.
6936 I think we have a much better understanding of what you are doing serving your respective local markets and it is going to be very helpful for us in coming to grips with this local reflection issue that we wanted to thoroughly canvass at this proceeding. It is the first time since the TV Policy came out.
6937 So I thank you all for that. We appreciate your enthusiasm for your own respective markets across the country.
6938 Thank you very much.
6939 We will take our break now and turn to the intervention from NBRS.
--- Upon recessing at 1555 / Suspension à 1555
--- Upon resuming at 1610 / Reprise à 1610
6940 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back to our proceeding.
6941 We have now completed the first phase of our hearing and that is hearing from the applicants for their licence renewals.
6942 We will now turn to the next phase of our proceeding, which is to hear from the intervenors.
6943 The first intervenor that we will hear from today is the National Broadcast Reading Service.
6944 I will turn it over to you, Mr. Trimbee.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
6945 MR. TRIMBEE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission.
6946 My name is Bob Trimbee, I am the Executive Director of National Broadcast Reading Service.
6947 On my right is Geoff Eden, the Vice-President of our Board of Directors. On my left is Eric Rothschild, President of Rothschild & Co. who acts as an advisor to NBRS. Stuart Robertson, our legal counsel.
6948 Behind us, from my right are Lloyd Grant, an independent broadcast engineer and John Stubbs, our Director of Operations.
6949 Thank you for allowing us to appear today.
6950 Our media charity is dedicated to improving access the broadcasting system for the 2.8 million Canadians who are blind, have diminished vision or are print restricted. These Canadians have an equal right of access to the broadcasting system.
6952 MR. EDEN: Thank you for inviting us to make our presentation.
6953 I sense a certain irony in having a blind person comment on television broadcasting and I was noticing in the previous presentations a number of programs that I really wished I had been able to have some access to.
6954 Certainly vision-impaired Canadians believe that we have the right to share the television experience in Canada, particularly Canadian programming.
6955 I think, in my mind, vision impairment, probably in this frame of reference, means the person who cannot see their television from their favourite chair in their living room or in their home. That is really the type of individual we are speaking of.
6956 Notwithstanding those who live alone, there is a difficulty here, and that is trying to recruit anybody to describe television to you. I am a family person who has raised children and I am now into grandchildren. Very difficult to have anybody sit down and give away their entertainment hours to describing to dad or to grandpa or, in the case of a spouse, a husband or wife. So people are not patient and forthcoming to do any description in the home. One can't count on that.
6957 One of the things that happened in history is that radio was a time when blind people really had a very good time listening to the radio and people with limited eyesight -- everyone could enjoy the radio experience together, tended in fact to be a kind of a family experience.
6958 Television has made us more alone in watching. People tend to go and turn on their portable and watch their favourite show, which further makes it difficult to get somebody to describe a show or share it with you.
6959 I would like to thank CTV and Global for at least looking at equipping their stations to provide a described version of programming, however I, and other vision-impaired Canadians, are really quite impatient that the process is so slow.
6960 This is exposure to an entertainment to which we have heretofore had no access. We are really extremely eager to share in the television experience in Canada and we believe we have an equal right to share that television experience and we hope that we will some day have equal exposure -- that would mean, I suppose, an awful lot of time being spent for described video.
6962 MR. STUBBS: As Commissioner Pennefather reminded us all on Tuesday, in the Television Policy Review you supported the introduction of DVS programming. You said that you would explore what progress has been made at license renewal. You set the timeline and gave everyone more than two years notice.
6963 In the interim, the FCC began and completed a review of DVS. It ordered the four U.S. networks and the top five specialty services to broadcast four hours per week of described programming in prime time by next April.
6964 Since 1995 we have worked to resolve the technical and supply issues associated with description.
6965 We have heard a lot about the benefits of convergence at this hearing. We can tell you that convergence has helped to resolve the cost issue of described programming.
6966 BCE agreed to give us a $2 million as part of the CTV benefits package. We have just received the first $400,000 instalment and are gearing up for production in volume.
6967 The BCE/CTV benefits moneys are the major reason NBRS has been able to reduce the rate it charges to produce an hour of described programming from $5 000 to $2,250 per hour. At $2,250 per hour, the cost of an hour of described programming is now less expensive in Canada than in the United States, where prices range from $2,000 to $4,000 U.S.
6968 We have also worked to resolve the technical issues. We investigated what equipment is actually required and came up with at least three quotes for each piece of equipment. We shared that information with the CAB and television broadcasters.
6969 The CAB said "We just didn't understand the complexity of the issues. They told you that none of our evidence was credible. Well, the comments and commitments of CTV and Global prove otherwise.
6970 Both CTV and Global told you that they agree with the evidence that we filed with the Commission. They felt we had left out a few items, but they do agree with our itemized costs.
6971 At its renewal last month TVA claimed it would cost almost $1.5 million to upgrade its analog facilities. Commissioner Colville asked us to explain the difference.
6972 Now that we have seen TVA's estimates, if is easy to see why. A 64-channel audioboard for a single channel of audio for almost $100,000. A new transmitter for $300,000. Over $600,000 in engineering, design and contingency costs. It reminds me of cable and the days of Cap Ex. Only the best will do.
6973 We suggest that maybe TVA should talk to CTV.
6974 Commissioner Pennefather asked both CTV and Global about the cost to upgrade cable head-ends. They confirmed our evidence that it would cost between $300 and $1,300 to upgrade a cable head-end to rebroadcast the SAP data. If a cable head-end receives the signal over-the-air, there is no upgrade cost.
6975 Based on the high-end cost of $1,300, it would cost half a million dollars to upgrade every Class 1 cable head-end in Canada to distribute the SAP of CTV, Global and TVA. That is a one-time total cost of $500,000 to bring described programming on CTV, Global and TVA to every Class 1 cable subscriber in Canada.
6976 I hope we can now agree that the cost issues have been resolved and for the station upgrades for programs an the cable distributors.
6977 MR. TRIMBEE: Quite frankly, Commissioners, the debate over costs misses the point.
6978 The real issue isn't the cost of upgrading. The real issue isn't the cost of described programming.
6979 Costs are no excuse or justification for continuing to deny access of the broadcasting system to the 10 per cent of Canadians who are blind, have diminished vision or are print restricted.
6980 The real issue is access to the Canadian broadcasting system.
6981 The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal recently ruled that it is discriminatory to deny access to broadcasts by reason of a disability. That precedent-setting case focused on access for the hearing impaired. But the decision speaks to the access rights of the disabled in general.
6982 Access to the broadcasting system is not a privilege in Canada. It is a right assured under the Broadcasting Act.
6983 We submit that we are now down to discussing how long it should take for Canadians who can benefit from description to gain access to the broadcasting system.
6984 We are pleased that both CTV and Global have committed to upgrade all of their stations and to broadcast described programming.
6985 Once again CTV has demonstrated its leadership in the broadcasting industry and its sensitivity to the needs of these Canadians. As Global put it, CTV set the bar.
6986 However, as we stated in our interventions, we believe described programming should be made available immediately.
6987 How do we explain to the 246,000 Albertans who are blind, have diminished vision or are print restricted that they will have to wait until 2005 to get described programs? Or 2007 for the 275,000 living in Atlantic Canada? Or 2009 for the 111,000 living in Saskatchewan? What is the rationale for a seven-year roll out?
6988 If you accept this timeline, it will have been a decade from the publication of the TV Policy until all Canadians gain access to described programming. By comparison, the American networks will do it within two years from the start of the FCC review.
6989 How do we explain why it will take until 2007 to get four hours week of described canadian programs when Americans will get 4 hours next year?
6990 As we said in our intervention, we think the groups should be required upgrade their stations immediately. We cannot support the multi-year transition which they propose, but based upon what we have heard at the hearing, and discussions we have had with the broadcasters, we propose a compromise.
6991 MR. ROTHSCHILD: Commissioners, a reasonable compromise would see you require that the upgrades be completed within 12 months of the start of the renewal term.
6992 Given that we are 16 months away from the start of the renewal term, that would give the broadcasters almost two and a half years to get the job done.
6993 NBRS is also prepared to compromise on the number of original hours of described programming. NBRS suggests it would be reasonable to agree on two original hours and two hours of repeats rather than the four original hours per week that it proposed in its interventions.
6994 NBRS asks the Commission to require both CTV and Global to fulfil their commitment to upgrade their satellite networks and upgrade their Ontario stations by September of 2002.
6995 They should both be required to broadcast four hours per week of described priority programming in peak viewing time in those markets by September of 2002.
6996 NBRS asks that both Global and CTV should be required to upgrade their facilities in each of the other markets they serve by September, 2003, and air four hours of described programming.
6997 NBRS also asks that they both should be required to pass through the description which comes with acquired programming which they receive from the United States and other markets.
6998 To help meet the needs of the 576,000 Quebecers who are blind, have diminished vision or are print restricted, TVA should be required to upgrade its facilities by September, 2002 and to broadcast four hours per week of described programs.
6999 Commissioners, there can no longer be any argument that the upgrades are not affordable. That said, perhaps the Commission would consider allowing the upgrades to be included in the benefits packages associated with the flurry of transactions that have been announced during the past week.
7000 But Commissioners, cost is not the issue. The issue is right of access. Access delayed is access denied.
7001 We would be pleased to answer any questions you might have.
7002 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Rothschild, Mr. Trimbee.
7003 Gentlemen, I will turn my questions to Commissioner Pennefather.
7004 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7005 Good afternoon gentlemen.
7006 For your information, I am sitting at an angle to you to your left at the far end of the table.
7007 As the Chair said, my name is Joan Pennefather. To my right is Andrée Wylie, Vice-Chair, Broadcasting. To her right is Chairman David Colville, followed by Cindy Grauer and Andrew Cardozo. Directly in front of you are staff and legal counsel of the CRTC.
7008 Thank you for being here today, for your written intervention, and for your comments this afternoon.
7009 I appreciate the context with which you began your remarks, the TV Policy, in terms of the Commission's statement regarding DVS programming and the fact that this hearing was an occasion to examine the progress that licensees have made in this regard.
7010 And to cut to the chase, you also note, and rightly so, that both CTV and Global have raised the bar and have come to the table with a proposal which takes us quite a bit farther than where we were just a short while ago. And I'm sure you will agree with me on that score.
7011 I think then it rests with me just to review what you have come forward with today as another approach. I understand the nature of that approach is one that essentially says more and faster for the reasons that you have articulated, and of course we understand those reasons, but in the interest of the balancing act which the Commission always has to play, it's important for us to have a bit more understanding of what you are proposing here and why in terms of the specifics, certainly not in terms of the principle, as you will understand from our TV Policy.
7012 If then I go through your presentation and ask a few basic questions. I would like to start with something Mr. Rothschild said, which I am not sure is correct. In your paragraph 38, you say that -- and it's an important point:
"Given that we are still 16 months away from the start of the renewal term...".
7013 I don't think that's correct. I think it's four months away from the start of the renewal term.
7014 MR. ROTHSCHILD: We were under the impression the renewal term started September, 2002.
7015 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: No, I don't think so -- 2001.
7016 So that may factor in into adjusting your scenario a little bit. So let's go through this point by point, if that's all right.
7017 I think the Commission also would agree, and so would our licensees, that the costs matter is done. It's certainly interesting now to have those costs in front of us and essentially, if I understand you correctly, we agree, essentially on the basic costs of laying out DVS programming across the country. I think it's a question of timing.
7018 There is one element of the costs that you mention here that I actually had a question on in terms of reaching most of the Canadians who are visually impaired.
7019 The costs laid out by CTV which Global said are basically the same as they would put forward relate to transmitter reception of the signal, but the cable head-end costs, I just want some further clarification on that. You do mention it again today in paragraph 20 that:
"Based on the high-end cost of $1,300, it would cost half a million dollars to upgrade every class-1 cable head-end in Canada...".
7020 Now when you talk about the upgrade of the cable head-end, is that for the system or per channel? Could you just explain in a little more detail where that cost comes from and what it covers?
7021 MR. ROTHSCHILD: The $1,300 you are referring to?
7022 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Yes.
7023 MR. ROTHSCHILD: I think I will ask John Stubbs to expand on the detail, but at the cable head-end, in essence what one requires is a piece of equipment to encode it, and there are different types, as we have filed in our intervention, that range in price from $300 to $1,300, depending on what is required at the specific cable head-end. That's to encode one secondary audio program.
7024 So for each channel that they want to encode, they will need one $1,300 card for TVA, one $1,300 for CTV, one $1,300 card for Global, and there are 133 class-1 cable head-ends in Canada when one takes into account interconnection -- and that evidence was filed by NBRS.
7025 So if you took 133 cable head-ends times $1,300, it comes to roughly $170,000. Three of those at three times $170,000 comes to roughly half a million dollars.
7026 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So when I have a cable head-end -- and excuse me if my technical language isn't quite right -- to have CTV, Global and TVA receivable, is it one encoder or three?
7027 MR. STUBBS: No, it's three separate ones.
7028 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Three separate ones.
7029 MR. STUBBS: Each modulated channel needs a sap transmitter, if you will. It's a modulator on the cable system.
7030 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So each cable head-end times three across the country.
7031 MR. STUBBS: Right. It comes to half a million dollars, yes.
7032 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: If we look at your proposal -- perhaps just take me through it again in terms of the number of markets. Obviously what CTV and Global have proposed is a ramp up of markets.
7033 You would like to proceed in a different pattern. Could you just confirm with us what the market ramp up would be for you?
7034 MR. ROTHSCHILD: If we understood CTV and Global correctly, basically they said Ontario is the market that they want to start with because Ontario -- I think the way that Global had put was that they start with Ontario and that is where the satellite uplink is. So they start with Ontario, upgrade the transmitters in Ontario, upgrade the re-broads in Ontario, and upgrade the satellite facilities in Ontario and then from there they move out to the rest of the country. We are suggesting the same thing.
7035 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: All right. So it's just a question of the same pattern, but you are looking at the timing.
7036 MR. ROTHSCHILD: That's correct.
7037 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And in the timing that you are proposing, would it have any affect on the capital costs proposals that they have tabled, in any way?
7038 MR. ROTHSCHILD: Not that we can see.
7039 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: It would just make it all happen faster.
7040 MR. ROTHSCHILD: Exactly. Instead of spreading the cost over seven years, as they are proposing, we are suggesting that the cost should be spread over a year.
7041 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Now, you have also taken a new approach to the number of hours per week. Rather than four hours immediately, it would be four, but that is composed of two originals, two repeats. Is that correct?
7042 MR. ROTHSCHILD: That's correct.
7043 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And you reasons for that?
7044 MR. ROTHSCHILD: It was an effort to be reasonable and to show an ability to compromise, that we understood the arguments they put forward and I think Jim MacDonald when he appeared with CTV talked about the rationale of why they felt that two hours of originals, two hours of repeats seemed to make sense to them and when I discussed with NBRS -- and perhaps Bob would want to expand on it -- we felt that in an effort to be reasonable we would say all right, for hours, two originals, two repeats was a reasonable number of hours of Canadian programming per week to be made available.
7045 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you. We really appreciate that and please don't misunderstand my questions. What the Commission has to do after this is take what have been very constructive proposals on all sides and see what we think would be a fair compromise from our point of view as well.
7046 I just have one other question on the programming side. Assuming that everything is up and running and the capital shop is in place, so to speak, as you do more programming does the cost of those programs, the described video programming, come down if we are doing more or is the pattern going to stay the same as you have indicated here?
7047 MR. ROTHSCHILD: Well, $2,250 is a discount rate that quite frankly was made possible because of the generosity of BCE and CTV. I mean, the rate in the past has been $5,000 an hour -- $2,250 is the rate that they see being feasible today because of the subsidy that has come from BCE, and as the volume ramps up it is conceivable it would come down further. How much further is a little difficult to tell right now.
7048 We have done various models to say, "Okay, well how many hours can we actually produce, with how much staff" and I think that we will get a better sense of that as time goes by.
7049 In my discussions with NBRS, and as we have done the modelling, we felt $2,250 was a reasonable place to start with the objective of trying to bring it down further.
7050 Will it come down to the hundreds of dollars the way we have seen with captioning? Probably not. Will it come down further? It's reasonable to think it will. As you produce in volumes, as you have the infrastructures, you learn new production techniques. As software that has only recently has become available gets into place. There is software that NBRS has begun to use that has reduced the amount of time it takes to describe an hour of programming by 50 per cent -- half the time.
7051 So I think as those things kick in, it's quite conceivable the price will come down further. How much further? I don't think we will quite see the dramatic decrease that the BCE monies have allowed to happen.
7052 MR. TRIMBEE: Could I just add a comment to that.
7053 The key point is that what CTV and BCE have allowed us to do is to get away from the chicken and egg situation. As soon as you get the volume, we can reduce the price. What they have said is we will provide you with enough funding to make sure you have the infrastructure. What our job means is in the next five years is to develop the volume so that when that support ends the price suddenly won't go back up to $5,000.
7054 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: A very good point and I appreciate that.
7055 I think where we are now is we have got a framework on both the capital cost side and the operational side where we can find a reasonable, for all parties, ramp-up to get digitally -- I keep saying digital when I mean described -- described video programming to as many Canadians as possible as soon as possible.
7056 One other technical question that came from today's presentation is that NBRS also asked that both CTV and Global be required to pass through the description which comes with acquired programming. Is there any cost to that in that matter?
7057 MR. ROTHSCHILD: To the best of our knowledge there isn't, and in fact, I think you asked that question yesterday of Global and they made the same point.
7058 Once they have upgraded the plant to do this, then there is no additional costs. As we know the American networks will be producing described programming in volume or broadcasting it in volume four hours a week on each of the four networks next year and the specialty services, we think it is reasonable to figure that some of that American programming will be coming in here and it would be a travesty to see somehow that the description got blocked.
7059 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But as I understand it your four hours, two and two, is Canadian priority programming?
7060 MR. ROTHSCHILD: Absolutely.
7061 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: You mentioned in your written brief the sponsorship potential and in fact a note was made of the revenue now available for closed captioning. Have you researched this potential or do you have examples of where this is currently being done and where we can get a sense of what the revenue potential will be?
7062 MR. ROTHSCHILD: I don't think we have done any formal research, Commissioner. I think that we look at what has happened with captioning and you see CTV saying that they anticipate $10 million in revenues from captioning in the renewal term, and I think Global is talking something on the order of seven million in annual revenues. Who would have figured that that was going to happen. Who would have figured that there would be that amount of revenue or who those potential sponsors are.
7063 We have heard an awful lot of talk at this hearing about the need for additional advertising availabilities or the need for flexibility, clearly there is demand, especially in peak viewing time, for additional commercial inventory. So there is no reason to think that there would be a particular type of advertiser. I think any advertiser who wants an announcement in peak viewing time is a reasonable prospect for sponsor and description, just as I think that is what they have seen with closed captioning.
7064 Bob, is there anything I have missed in that one?
7065 MR. TRIMBEE: I think the only example we can point to in the way to keep the cost of description in the United States down for the individual stations is the fact that they sell -- I'm not quite sure of the term, but institutional I think might be the term -- advertising to people who will sponsor or support the programming that has been described. That is something that the local station can sell.
7066 MR. ROTHSCHILD: But I also heard, I think it was you, Commissioner Pennefather, asking, "Well, will you get more sponsorship revenues from description," and the comment was, "Well, no. It's probably just going to be moving from captioning over to description."
7067 It's hard for me to envision that that realistically will happen, especially with all this talk that we have heard about the need for more inventory, especially in peak viewing time. I think that if you have got another opportunity to have another sponsorship or another mention for an advertiser, why wouldn't you exploit it. It's hard to conceive that they wouldn't.
7068 But that said, there is already $10 million budgeted for revenues from captioning on CTV against, I think, a cost of a million and a half dollars is what the renewal application indicated. Similarly, about seven million for Global against a million and a half dollars of cost for captioning.
7069 If they take our proposal of two hours a week of described programming, we are talking about an additional expense of about a quarter of a million dollars for the broadcasters per year. Certainly there is an awful lot of margin in there to cover that off, even if there weren't additional revenues beyond what they are already projecting.
7070 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I agree with you and part of that analysis I appreciate is in early days, another word we have heard here quite a bit.
7071 I think too what also may help and something I hadn't seen much of in your report, but I am sure you spend a considerable amount of your own time on this area, is the promotion of the availability and the importance of described video programming. You have done it in these contexts but I am saying as well in a business sense that the fact that it is going to be there will also certainly make more of an awareness of the potential from the advertising side I would assume.
7072 MR. ROTHSCHILD: There is certainly the hope that there would be an awful lot of -- more promotion to this just as there is for captioning, and we were talking about this over lunch and Geoff was pointing out that he hoped that it wasn't in an alphanumeric crawler, which is what we have seen with some of the experiments to this date. It's rather ironic.
7073 But you do need an audio promotion for description to make it useful to the people that it is intended to reach. You scratch your head over that one and I say only a sighted person could think an alphanumeric crawler would work for promoting a described video.
7074 But clearly you want to promote it. You want to make people aware that it is there and that will be done, not just through the efforts of NBRS, but I think the broadcasters will want to make people aware, and I think that also distributors. Because we are sitting here talking about the broadcasters. They are the output. They are where the display happens. But I think that you are going to find distributors and producers are going to want to promote this as well. I think that they will find that this is something that enhances the value of their product in the DVD market. So it will become something that is promoted, and then again that will stimulate more sponsorship opportunities.
7075 MR. TRIMBEE: If I could just add a comment to that.
7076 Right now it may be a bit of heresy, but the only described programming available to Canadian listeners is that that basically is available through the PBS system. At the request of the people who are voice print listeners and those who now are accessing our service through the internet, we now carry -- each week we outline the upcoming shows that will be described. Because, as has been mentioned before, even the American stations don't really do a lot of heavy promoting that this program is described other than what WGBH may do.
7077 So we will also ourselves use the facilities that we have at hand, obviously, to promote this because we know already there is an interest in knowing when something will be shown.
7078 Geoff, did you have a comment on that?
7079 MR. EDEN: Well, it's always been an issue. I worked for the CNIB for 20 years and I think people regarded me as one of the people that did a lot of communicating in the community of people with vision impairment.
7080 I have to now continue to do that as a policy developer for the City of Toronto, stay in touch with a population, and it's a real dilemma. Because you send Braille letters, and there is only a few people that read Braille in the world of vision impairment, and there is also people that can't read print. So you send them a print letter. If you put it on the television, who is going to be listening for what if they are not television watchers anyway since there is no described video.
7081 It's a chicken and egg again and I think we have to employ all of the pathways that we have to make sure that people are aware that the product is there and to begin to enjoy. Is that what you were -- yes.
7082 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Yes, and I am certain that you are the experts therein but we all have a part to play and therefore I really appreciate, and so do my colleagues in the Commission, that you have offered us another review of the potential here and what in your minds would work as a compromise solution. We have to take all of that now and weigh it and look at some solutions.
7083 MR. ROTHSCHILD: Commissioner Pennefather, if I could just come back to your comment right off the top about the dates and the renewal term, we would still say that the appropriate time for the Ontario and satellite systems to be upgraded is September 2002, and that the whole system should be completed by September 2003. That is a reasonable amount of time to allow the broadcasters to -- to give them two and a half years from now to complete the project is parallel to what the FCC gave the American networks.
7084 We think that we may have been off on when the renewal term commenced, but the length of time isn't factored on that. It is still the right amount of time.
7085 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So thank you for that, and sort of like the end of the sentence I didn't quite finish, that despite that, you still feel an appropriate start date is 2002. Thank you.
7086 MR. ROTHSCHILD: Yes. Yes, we do.
7087 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Those are my questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7088 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Pennefather.
7089 Well, I thank you gentlemen for coming and making a representation today. I think the issue has certainly been moved along in the past couple of weeks even from where we were even two or three weeks ago. We take the compromise that you have put on the table. We will hear what the applicant's response is next week and then we will carefully weigh all of this. I believe Commission counsel has a question and then I am going to ask Mr. Eden if he has got a parting thought before you leave.
7091 MS MOORE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7092 Just a few brief matters. First of all, I believe that along with your oral brief today you have filed a page of statistics on vision impaired. I am just wondering if you have provided a copy to the applicants?
7093 MR. ROTHSCHILD: No, we did not.
7094 MS MOORE: Could you please commit to provide copies to both Global and CTV by Monday?
7095 MR. ROTHSCHILD: Absolutely.
7096 MS MOORE: Thank you.
7097 Also I just want to confirm your understanding that the matter of the TVA renewal is not a matter that forms a part of this proceeding and that that is part of a separate proceeding?
7098 MR. ROTHSCHILD: We understand that. Yes.
7099 MS MOORE: Finally, I wonder if you have any comment, if the Commission were to require a certain amount of described programming, if some proportion of that programming were to be children's programming as opposed to priority programming, do you have any comment on that possibility?
7100 MR. TRIMBEE: I guess my response to that would be that our two prime areas of interest in describing are, from our point of view, a drama that is the peak time programming you are talking about and children's programming. We didn't address the children's programming because we were talking about a specific timeframe when Canadian programming would be available. So we stuck to that. But we are obviously interested in children's programming and in the catalogue of material that we have described to date, we have got about two dozen cinemagraphic works that are designed for children from, say four to say 16.
7101 MR. EDEN: I am going to pitch in here.
7102 The demographic of vision loss, the CNIB puts out a notice each year of the age range of vision loss. It's very important to know what kind of audience you have to serve and I think that is regarded as the document of record each year, and children are a very small percentage. So I think one must look at the resources. The CNIB are looking at the challenge of turning their resources to serving an older population as many of us every day. So I don't want to take away from that issue, I just want you to have the facts in hand.
7103 MR. ROTHSCHILD: Which is why we had recommended priority programming in peak viewing time.
7104 MS MOORE: Thank you. Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
7105 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, counsel.
7106 Mr. Eden, did you have any final thoughts that you would like to leave with us?
7107 MR. EDEN: I am flattered to be given the opportunity to say something.
7108 I can only tell you that I am an entertainment consumer at the moment in the form of audio tapes and CDs, and many people with vision loss are audio consumers, as I am sure is obvious to you once you hear it said. In the community in which I lived part of my life, that is the community of people with low vision or no vision, we talk daily about the opportunities that will come from described video. Many of us fall over each other to get at the latest movie that have been described, and we feel left out when people talk about popular programs because we are left out of it.
7109 Now, I heard about Cold -- what was it called?
7110 THE CHAIRPERSON: "Cold Squad."
7111 MR. EDEN: "Cold Squad" today. I had never heard about "Cold Squad" because I have never been compelled to look at the television and find out what it was all about. I look forward -- I truly look forward to be able to pick up the phone and talk to my daughter some day about what was on "Cold Squad."
7112 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you for that and as I say, I think with the help of the broadcasters involved and yourselves and the National Broadcast Reading Service, hopefully you will be able to enjoy "Cold Squad" and other programs before too long.
7113 Thank you very much.
7114 MR. EDEN: Thank you.
7115 THE CHAIRPERSON: That concludes our proceeding for today and for this week. We will reconvene Monday morning at 0830 at which time we will start hearing from the other intervenors. Thank you very much.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1655, to resume on Monday, April 23, 2001 at 0830 / L'audience est ajournée à 1655, pour reprendre le lundi 23 avril 2001 à 0830