VisionTV president and CEO Bill Roberts responds to recent coverage in Canadian Communications Reports on the network’s licence renewal. RE: Coverage of VisionTV Licence Renewal Application, CCR Volume 30; Issue 8, April 22, 2004 and Issue 11, June 4, 2004  While VisionTV appreciates CCR’s recent coverage of our licence renewal application, we feel it necessary to point out a number of omissions. The articles in question (CCR, June 4/04 and April 22/04) focus almost exclusively on VisionTV’s request for a two-cent increase in its wholesale rate. CCR accurately notes the opposition on the part of the Canadian Cable Television Association (CCTA), but fails to mention the hundreds of viewers, independent producers and others who wrote to the CRTC in support of our request. We propose to invest all of the revenue from the rate increase in the production and promotion of original drama series, to be developed by the winners of our Cultural Diversity Drama Competition. Contrary to the CCTA’s contention, VisionTV’s projected income in the absence of such an increase would be insufficient to finance these projects. The CCTA also objects to a lack of "detailed information" on the proposed dramas. Ironically, the June 3/04 issue of CCR happens to include an article on Kink in My Hair, one of the three drama competition pilots, all of which VisionTV has described in its renewal application and publicized extensively. The CRTC has identified the production of Canadian drama and cultural diversity programming as top priorities for the industry. VisionTV has developed an initiative that addresses both of these issues. Our proposal will create opportunities for emerging talent from visible minority communities to bring unique and innovative new programs to a national audience. The modest rate increase we have requested to support this effort amounts to little more than one-thousandth of the basic rate charged by many distributors. VisionTV’s diversity drama initiative reflects our commitment to Canadian programming as a whole. In addition to the rate increase request, we propose to increase the network’s Canadian content requirement to 65% overall (for a grand total of 2,000 more hours), while adjusting exhibition in the evening period from 60% to 50%. At the same time, we would increase our Canadian program expenditure requirement from 45% to 47% of total revenue, which amounts to another $3 million over the next licence term. More money to spend on Canadian production means programs of higher quality. And added flexibility in prime time will help us to grow viewership for these programs by leading in to them with popular foreign content. Higher ratings spell increased advertising revenue, which leads in turn to further investment in Canadian programming. CCR’s April 22/04 editorial leaves the impression that VisionTV has requested a wholesale rate increase because it is "not financially viable or run in a fiscally responsible manner." On the contrary: we are financially stable and even manage to run a modest surplus. VisionTV’s non-programming expenses are lower than those for many of our competitors, which - as services within consolidated companies - enjoy the benefit of sharing costs among a number of channels. This licence renewal is not about financial need. It is about enhancing VisionTV’s contribution to the broadcast system. VisionTV is a small, independent broadcaster with some of the highest Canadian exhibition and expenditure requirements in the industry. Remarkably, we have proposed to increase these even further. The Broadcasting Act says our industry should maximize the use of Canadian resources to deliver high-quality programs that enhance this nation’s cultural sovereignty. We are seeking the CRTC’s help to do just that: to invest more in Canadian programming and put even better shows on the air. Surely this is good business for everyone.