CRTC increases funding for local stations, CTV’s Windsor A Channel to remain open

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has increased a fund for local television stations to more than $100 million from $68 million, the broadcast regulator announced this week.

CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said:

“Canadians have made it abundantly clear that they value local programming.We have taken steps to ensure that broadcasters, and particularly those in smaller markets, continue to provide Canadians with programming that reflects their needs and interests.”

Television stations in markets with less than one million people will be able to draw on the fund to support news and other types of local programming and cable and satellite companies must contribute 1.5 per
cent of their gross broadcasting revenues to the local programming
fund, an increase of 0.5 per cent.

The increase is a temporary measure for the 2009-10 broadcast season, the CRTC said.

Despite the increased funding, Canwest Global said it would likely cut local programming outside big cities and was not changing its plans to sell some stations, CBC News reported.

CTV announced it will continue to operate its A-Channel station out of Windsor for the license renewal term ending August 31, 2010. CTV announced in March that it would close the station at the end of August, and now the community station has at least one more year of life.

Paul Sparkes, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs, CTVglobemedia said in a news release:

“Today’s announcement about saving Windsor’s only local private television station for one year is a direct result of the CRTC’s one year LPIF enhancement.”