Canada's Embattled CBC to Run Ads on Radio

The broadcast regulator CRTC approved plans to put national commercials on the channel's stations.

TORONTO – A cash-strapped CBC will run ads on some radio stations.

The CRTC, Canada’s broadcast regulator, on Tuesday approved plans to put national commercials on the network’s English language CBC Radio Two signal, and on its Radio-Canada equivalent, Espace Musique.

The green light to sell up to four minutes of ads per hour came as the CBC looks to make up for lost revenue after deep chops to its annual public subsidy.

The CRTC, which ignored opposition from private radio stations to allowing commercial airtime, also renewed various CBC broadcast licenses for another five years.

The CBC will now be able to double-dip as it collects advertising revenue for CBC Radio Two and Espace Musique, while also drawing taxpayer subsidies.

The new revenue will only partially replace $115 million in government financing cut from the CBC’s budget over three years.

The network also faces the threat of losing its long-standing Hockey Night in Canada property on Saturday nights when the TV contract with the NHL comes up for renewal next year.

Rival networks like Bell Media and Rogers Media, which both run cable sport channels, are expected to take a run at the Hockey Night rights.

The NHL game double-header on Saturday nights and Stanley Cup playoff and championship rounds on the CBC account for as much as 30-to-40 percent of the network's annual primetime ad revenue.