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September 17, 2020 10:31 am  #1

Cdn. Assn. Of Broadcasters Asks CRTC For COVID-Related Radio Relief

There’s no doubt the pandemic has had an effect on broadcasters everywhere, and now the Canadian Association of Broadcasters has gone to the CRTC begging for regulatory relief for its members.
Among the things they’re asking the government body for:
-Absent of anything egregious, to consider that all stations have met their broadcast licence requirements and not be made to make up for any perceived shortfalls. Under the CAB’s proposal, the Commission would … not require that any shortfalls be made up in subsequent broadcast years.” (In its posted response, The CRTC didn’t seem crazy about this idea.)
-That stations be allowed to proceed with regulation requirements with a “should resources permit” agreement.
-And finally, a long and detailed request about Local Market Agreements between stations, that can be best summed up by its final line: “…which would include implicit permission on agreements that permit two differently-owned radio stations in a given market to be co-managed by one entity and allow for the co-sale of advertising between those stations and entities.”
The CRTC is worried that money spent on things like Can Con, closed captioning and news could be reduced as a money saving method if they say yes. But they’re also aware that broadcasters are hurting. So they’re asking all interested parties to respond to the ideas by the middle of October, before they make decisions on anything.
I’m sure the Rogers’, The Bells and the Corus-es of the world are, indeed, feeling the effects of COVID in their radio division’s bottom lines. I’m less sure that they can’t afford it or that this will lead to fewer layoffs in the future.
Either way, I can’t remember the CAB ever making this kind of sweeping request to the CRTC. It will be interesting to see what the Commission decides.
CRTC: The CAB’s Relief Request