The Rogers-Shaw Merger could mean less local news in Kingston and several other communities where Rogers is not present, according to some intervenors at CRTC hearings on Tuesday. CRTC Hearings have been ongoing since November 22nd.
Currently, Shaw Communications provides about $13 million to Global News for the production and distribution of local news. This is due to a requirement for cable companies to contribute a portion of their revenue to local news programming.
If the merger is approved, Rogers plans to redirect this funding to its own broadcaster, CityTv. The CityNews division of CityTv has made attempts to expand in recent years. Last year, Rogers rebranded its Ottawa news station as CityNews and continues to make rebrands across the country.
In a letter submitted to the CRTC in September, Corus Entertainment told the CRTC that the merger “will have a detrimental impact on local news production and delivery, including in markets such as Kelowna, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Regina, Peterborough, Kingston, Saint John and Halifax, where Corus operates local stations, but Rogers does not.”
While Corus Entertainment has not spoken at the CRTC Hearings, the director of broadcasting policy and regulatory affairs at Telus Corporation told the CRTC that this will effectively force Global News to turn to the Independent Local News Fund (ILNF) for funding.
If Global News does turn to the Independent Local News Fund, it will likely use up more than half of the $21 million budget.Simpson and other Telus executives asked that Rogers continue to fund Global News if the transfer of CRTC licences are approved.
Global News used to be a subsidiary of Corus Entertainment until it was spun off by Shaw Communications in 1999. The CRTC considers both companies to be related to eachother.
You can watch the CRTC Hearings on the Rogers-Shaw Merger by visiting the CRTC website until November 26th.