Ladies and Gentlemen:
Re: Public Notice CRTC 2000 -164
1. If the big problem is ignored it doesn't matter how much care
you take over the details. Television without content will be insignificant
no matter how slick it is.
2. Cable companies should be putting up the money for real community
television, participatory public television, television that guarantees
public access. We can see that they don't want to make it themselves and
they shouldn't have to. The rest of the world expects public access to be
managed by public bodies and so should Canada.
3. As for competing broadcast distribution undertakings, we've
had a fair system of community TV support based on gross market share. It's
fair for satellite companies, it's fair for multipoint and it's fair for
4. What's not fair is the delay. If we don't get the money into
the hands of community producers, a generation will pass through young adulthood
thinking that the Internet is mass distribution, and that the television
industry is based on how well you can pretend to be part of the United States.
5. We know the Broadcast Act and we think it's about time it was
respected. Of course we favour less regulation for small cable licensees,
at least until a Class 1 system decides to buy them, but 90% of subscribers
are already owned by one of the (at the moment) big four systems. And the
number of big systems is likely to shrink before it gets larger.
6. Perhaps the one thing we might hope to see from this hearing
is a detailed accounting of how the 5% of gross annual revenues is spent
on Canadian programming: the share that goes to the community channel, and
the other Canadian shows that are supported.
7. If we want television to contribute to our culture, instead
of being simply a branch plant industry for a foreign culture, we have to
have an entry point where new people with new ideas find easy access. That's
not the colleges and universities. They send their students to community
TV to get practical experience. It's not the CBC. Top producers struggle
to get a show onto the CBC. In Canada the community channel is the first
place we find participation and public access. It's good and we should get
Executive Director, C.M.E.S.
Community Media Education Society