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CCR Short Takes

News | 12/19/2001 5:00 am EST

CRTC at long last licenses WTM
The CRTC has finally licensed World Television Network/Le Réseau Télémonde Inc. (WTM), granting it a Category 2 digital licence but denying it an analog licence and guaranteed access on cable – Decision 2001-757. The applicant proposed a model that would have guaranteed the service carriage in a high penetration tier or package in analog on all but the smallest systems (CCR, May 10/01). The request was based on the premise that the channel, which would broadcast Canadian and world programming, would be of exceptional importance to the achievement of the multicultural objectives of the Broadcasting Act. Toronto businessman Dan Iannuzzi had proposed supplying three separate feeds of the same programming: one with subtitles of the foreign programming in French and two with English subtitles (one for carriage in eastern Canada and a time-shifted version for western Canada). CRTC commissioner Martha Wilson dissented, arguing that granting WTM a licence for modified dual status service would provide necessary "bridge programming" in the broadcasting system. "While there is a substantial amount of third-language programming in the system, and while conventional broadcasters are turning their attention to a more realistic reflection of Canada’s demographics in their news and other Canadian progamming, there is, in my view a clear gap between the two," she wrote in her dissent. The CRTC granted the Category 2 licence on Dec. 14 after years of delays and rejected licence applications (CCR, May 11/00).

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