CRTC approves temporary news cut in TQS takeover

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced today that it has approved the sale of Quebec’s TQS Network to Remstar Diffusion Inc., including a three-year cut to news programming.

The CRTC said in a news release that it took TQS’s “precarious financial situation” into account and will temporarily allow a reduced amount of local news. It said:

The Commission has accepted Remstar’s proposal to replace traditional newscasts with a new concept that features local programming in which current events are discussed and analyzed. At least two hours of local news will be included as part of this programming each week in Montreal and Quebec.

For the stations in Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Saguenay, the CRTC is requiring Remstar to increase its commitment to broadcast local news from 50 minutes each week to one hour. Over and above these amounts, Remstar will have to broadcast at least 30 minutes of news programming every Saturday and Sunday on all TQS-affiliated stations.

The CRTC also said it will examine Remstar’s news programming commitments again in 2011, during a public hearing.

The Commission renewed the licences of these stations until 2015