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CCR Short Takes

News | 04/12/2002 4:00 am EDT

Craig, Rogers get licences for crowded Toronto market
Jennifer Strain, VP of corporate and regulatory affairs at Craig Broadcast Systems Inc., says the company plans to have a station up-and-running in Toronto by the fall. "People asked what a Brandon-based company knew about the Edmonton and Calgary markets when we moved in there," she says, turning aside criticism about the company not knowing enough about the Toronto area market. Craig was awarded an over-the-air licence for a station in Toronto with a retransmitter in Hamilton by the CRTC on April 8 – Broadcasting Decision 2002-81. Toronto-based Torstar, which sparked the licensing proceeding, has hinted it will appeal the decision. Global Television Network and Alliance Atlantis Communications had also submitted unsuccessful bids. The new station will increase Craig’s reach from 18 per cent to 42 per cent of English-speaking Canadians. "The majority considers that this increase in potential reach, which would result from a presence in Canada’s most lucrative television market, would strengthen Craig’s ability to provide an additional strong private television voice to serve Canadians," the CRTC says in its decision. Commissioners Joan Pennefather (see Newsmakers on page 8) and Andrée Wylie dissented. The dissenters noted that Torstar’s application proposed a new business model that would bring more Canadian content to the screen. Of the five-member panel, commissioners Stuart Langford, Martha Wilson and Barbara Cram voted for Craig. In a separate decision issued the same day, the CRTC approved a licence for Rogers Broadcasting to run a second ethnic station in Toronto to be called CFMT Too – Broadcasting Decision 2002-82. Rogers will split its current CFMT channel to focus on European immigrants, while the new station will offer ethnic programming aimed at communities of Asian and African origin. A Rogers spokesperson said the company could apply for retransmitters in Ottawa and London, cities that currently receive CFMT. The licence is contingent upon Rogers finding an analog channel for the station.

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