CRTC Reschedules CBC License Renewal for November 2012

The upcoming regulatory hearing follows Canada's public broadcaster slashing jobs and programming to absorb government cuts.

TORONTO -- The Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s twice-delayed license renewal hearing has been rescheduled for the Fall.

The CRTC, the country’s TV watchdog, in September 2011 postponed the first license renewal for the public broadcaster in 12 years, and then delayed the hearing yet again in February 2012 to next month.

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Now the license renewal hearing for the CBC, which operates TV, radio and online services in the English and French languages, and on a national, regional and local basis, is scheduled for November 19, 2012.

The upcoming hearing follows Ottawa imposing deep budget cuts on the CBC’s TV and radio networks.

A shrinking subsidy has led to job losses and reduced original programming and more re-runs during the upcoming Fall 2012 TV season, and an application to the CRTC to reintroduce commercial advertising on the CBC’s Radio 2 radio network and its French language counterpart, Espace Musique.

The public broadcaster is likely to call for stable funding and streamlined regulation at the upcoming license renewal hearings, not least to get the CBC round the digital curve as it deals with stepped-up competition from private broadcasters and the Internet.

The CRTC, for its part, will examine the role of the Canadian public broadcaster in an evolving digital landscape.