Brian Gromoff has been elected president of the Calgary branch of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA). He replaces Randy Birch, who chose not to stand for re-election. ACTRA Calgary’s new branch council is comprised of Gromoff, VP Mary McGuire, secretary Fif Fernandez, treasurer James Dugan, national councillor Linda Kupecek, past president Birch, and four members at large, T. J. Bews, David Lereaney, John Scott, and Joe-Norman Shaw.
Decima Reader Poll
A plurality of respondents – 26% – to an informal online Decima Publishing poll of readers say that Canadian Heritage should be combined with Industry Canada to return to the days of one Department of Communications because competing ministers have led to foot dragging on important reforms. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has recommended that one mega-department be formed to oversee broadcasting, telecommunications and the cultural industries (CCR, June 20/03). The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology agrees that there should be one department. We had our readers weigh in on the issue.
Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) is on track to acquire its target of 6,000 customers to its digital TV service by year-end, according to the company. During a July 24 quarterly conference call for financial analysts, president and CEO of subsidiary company MTS Communications Inc. Cheryl Barker noted that the vast majority of new subscribers are being drawn from analog cable.
Canadian Heritage minister Sheila Copps staunchly defended the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s report on the broadcasting sector in a brief conversation with Canadian Communications Reports, after she unveiled her Liberal Party of Canada leadership campaign platform on July 28. She told CCR that if she wins the party’s top post this November, she’ll institute measures including fixed budgets to enhance the role of parliamentary committees.
Both producers and broadcasters have condemned a recent CRTC decision to allow direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV distributors to divert 0.4% of revenues currently going to independent production funds to a new local programming fund. The $3.6-million local programming fund is part of a deal that was modified by the CRTC in granting Bell ExpressVu LP and Star Choice Communications Inc. licence amendments that exempt them from having to delete signals when distributing out-of-market TV channels (Broadcasting Decision 2003-257 and Broadcasting Decision 2003-258).
Bell ExpressVu LP is accusing Rogers Cable Inc. of a litany of anti-competitive practices in protecting its hold on delivering TV services to multiple-unit dwellings (MUDs) in Toronto. It wants help from both the CRTC and the Competition Bureau to level the playing field as it shifts its focus from acquiring customers in rural areas not served or underserved by cablecos to more densely populated urban cores.
Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. is seeking leave to appeal a CRTC decision that aims to put restrictions on its Category 2 digital TV pop channel, just in case a counter proposal that it has made to the commission doesn’t get approval. The moves stem from a complaint filed by CHUM Ltd., which argued that Craig’s pop channel, branded MTV2, was programmed in a manner that made it competitive with the Toronto-based broadcaster’s MuchMusic. The CRTC agreed, and asked Craig to apply for a licence amendment for MTV2 stating that pop videos would make up no fewer than 95% of the music video clips aired, and that the amendment include a definition of pop (CCR, Feb. 28/03).