For immediate release
Toronto, ON – With a public hearing now scheduled concerning the future of local TV in Canada, a new Nanos survey has found a wide majority of Canadians (76 per cent) trust the CRTC will “make decisions that will ensure my local TV station is not forced to close.”
But the sponsors of the poll – Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, ACTRA and Unifor – believe that trust is misplaced given recent CRTC decisions that undermine the financial viability of many TV stations, especially in small markets.
“In fact, the CRTC is rolling the dice with the future of local television in smaller Canadian cities,” Morrison said.
Local stations serving smaller communities are in financial distress. In part this is due to economic challenges facing all broadcasters.
But it is also the direct result of decisions recently made by the CRTC and a willful refusal on the part of the Commission to act to save local news in communities like Peterborough.
The Small Market Independent Stations Coalition (SMITS) has called on the CRTC for urgent help. It has told the Commission that much of the dire financial situation it faces is due to the CRTC imposing new costs while simultaneously cutting funding. Without action by the Commission, the Coalition has warned that “the likelihood of stations going dark is extremely high.”
Affected Canadians who greatly value local TV news would not be pleased at this turn of events. According to the Nanos survey:
92 per cent agree or somewhat agree that “local TV news is valuable to me;”
85 per cent disagree or somewhat disagree with the statement: “I would not care if local news broadcasts on TV were no longer available to me;”
90 per cent agree or somewhat agree that “my federal member of Parliament should work to keep local broadcasting strong in my community;”
Noting that the leadership of Canada’s broadcast regulator – the CRTC – is appointed by the prime minister, Unifor President Jerry Dias said:
“The current chair of the CRTC has adopted the Harper government’s agenda as his own even though the Commission is supposed to be independent from political interference. Will small market stations start fading to black next week? I don’t know. If they do, voters will know who to blame, and it won’t be some faceless bureaucrat in Ottawa.”
Nanos conducted a RDD duel frame (land- and + cell-lines) random telephone survey of 1,000 Canadians between August 28 and September 3, 2015. Data was weighted by age.
The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists – www.actra.ca) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 22,000 members across the country – the foundation of Canada’s highly-acclaimed professional performing community.
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is an independent watchdog for Canadian programming and is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including 14,500 media sector workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.
ACTRA: Carol Taverner 416-644-1519 [email protected]
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting: Jim Thompson 613-567-9592 [email protected]
Unifor: Randy Kitt, Unifor Media Council Chairperson 416-529-5152 (cell) [email protected]