With a decision on his application to launch a new specialty channel celebrating Canada's diversity reportedly due this week, Paul De Silva's mood can be best characterized as cautiously optimistic.De Silva, a founding partner in Diversity Television Inc., simultaneously applied to launch the new service and have it carried on digital basic cable earlier this year. He says Diversity Television's lawyer has advised him a decision could be announced this Tuesday, July 24.At hearings in March, Diversity Television found it tough to convince BDUs of the merits of its service - and certainly the 50-cent wholesale fee it proposed didn't help. But a major sign of encouragement came last month from Konrad von Finckenstein, who in his breakfast speech at the Banff World Television Festival expounded on the importance of access to the system."The programming should reflect the changing multicultural, multiracial and demographic nature of Canadian society," the CRTC chair said on June 11. "Canadians of all cultures and backgrounds should have opportunities to create that programming as participants in the industry."While De Silva admits that "you can't glean anything about a particular application from comments like that," he says the passage is an admission that the picture of contemporary Canadian life depicted on television doesn't necessarily dovetail with the real world. As such, it offers some encouragement for the Diversity Television crew."These things don't wind up in speeches without a lot of thought," he says. "I think the speech was very precise, and I think it was written to make particular points."It's clear that von Finckenstein, who took over the regulator's top spot in January, has brought some fresh thinking to the table in the fight to keep Canadian programming relevant to domestic audiences. De Silva points to the current Diversity of Voices proceeding - comments on which are now flowing in - as proof of the new direction under von Finckenstein.While that process focuses more on diversity of ownership and economic influence than ethno-cultural diversity, De Silva says Diversity Television, as an entity independently owned and operated by a culturally diverse group of executives, would provide both."Hopefully, mainstream organizations will develop the talent and bring in executives who are from visible minority communities, but I think it's essential to have in this era of consolidation independent ownership and voices," he says.But the matter of getting on the air first still remains. With the exception of CBC Newsworld/Reseau de l'information, Diversity Television's wholesale fee was the highest put forward during the applications for carriage on digital basic in March. De Silva says the premium is a function of the service's commitment to original productions, which is essential to the service as both a differentiator and a means of making good on its mission to reflect the changing face of Canada in its programming.Although the half-dollar figure isn't necessarily firm, De Silva cautions that content could suffer if Diversity Television is forced to compromise on financing. "I think it could be done for less...it would mean we'd deliver less in terms of drama," he says. "The fixed costs are the fixed costs - after that, it's then cutting and slicing. Do we do one less dramatic show, one less series? Two less? Do we have lower licence fees for what we acquire, or what we commission?"What is inviolable, however, is carriage in the basic tier in digital cablesystems, he adds, saying without it the whole business plan and premise for the service would fall apart. "The only way this whole thing would work is...basic, mandatory carriage. That's the only way to finance this," he says.