CRTC calls Corus' OWN and Rogers' G4techTV on the carpet for December hearing
October 15, 2012
OTTAWA - The CRTC said Thursday that Corus Entertainment's OWN and G4techTV (co-owned by Rogers Communications with minority owner Comcast Corporation) specialty channels are not complying with their licenses and must tell the CRTC why those licenses shouldn't be revoked or suspended. The hearing is set for December 11 in Gatineau, Quebec.
As analyzed by Cartt.ca in August, Corus had filed an application to change OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network which began life in 1999 as Canadian Learning Television) from a Category A service to a Category B service and to drop its educational designation. Rogers also applied for a license amendment that would allow G4techTV to add drama and comedy shows to its programming.
The Commission has refused both requests and is holding the licensees accountable to their original licenses and demanding to know why they are not in compliance -- and what their immediate plans are in order to meet their license demands.
In July 2011 the commission renewed OWN's license along with the rest of Corus' channels but noted that its programming was focused on "enhancement programming," and did not provide basic adult education, job development skills or professional development as reflected in its nature of service definition.
It ruled that OWN has not complied with its nature of service definition and that it needed to file by March 1, 2012 how it would bring the service into compliance with its nature of service.
Corus submitted a proposal on March 1 as mentioned to change OWN from a Category A service to a Category B service and to drop its educational designation. But the Commission replied on June 22, 2012 that it would not process the application since it is conditional upon the Commission agreeing to exempt the Shaw-owned cable systems from section 19 of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations with respect to the distribution of OWN.
In a letter sent June 18, 2012, the Commission indicated that since a considerable amount of G4techTV’s programming remained out of compliance with its nature of service definition, it would implement enforcement measures, which could include a mandatory order hearing, if G4techTV was not in compliance by September 1, 2012.
Rogers filed an application for a licence amendment on August 30, 2012 under Part 1 of the CRTC’s Rules of Practice and Procedure in order to re-designate G4techTV as a specialty Category B service.
The Commission informed Rogers last month that a Part 1 licence amendment process “was not appropriate for this type of application, which sought to change fundamental aspects of G4techTV’s licence.”