CACTUS Offers New Cost-Effective Model for Maintaining and Increasing Local OTA Service
Ottawa, 24 November 2009--In its submission to the CRTC hearing on November 25, The Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS) will propose a novel and cost-effective way to maintain, support and increase local programming content.
"As one of the three elements protected by the Broadcasting Act, community broadcasting must be community-controlled," says Cathy Edwards, spokesperson for CACTUS. "While Canada's community radio stations offer intensely local content, our community television sector's dependence on the cable industry has resulted in studio closures, reduced community access, and attempts to commercialize community channels to compete for advertising with local TV stations."
To give Canadian communities a true community alternative, CACTUS will be asking the CRTC to allocate the money earmarked for community access to an independent production fund directed at volunteer community TV boards. They would offer free over-the-air community TV, free training to community participants and free access on all platforms including new media. "We see community TV much like a public library. It should be the communications hub and active voice of Canadians in their cities and towns," said Edwards.
CACTUS believes that the coming analog-digital transition offers community TV the chance to develop a new business model, and to help remote private and public signals such as CTV and the CBC, remain available over the air to all communities, regardless of their size.
CACTUS is encouraging Canadians to express their views and support the community sector, by commenting on the CRTC's consultation notice on community TV, Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2009-661. Canadians can write to the CRTC (CRTC, Ottawa, ON K1A 0N2) or file online at http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2009/2009-661.htm. The CRTC's deadline for comments on this policy is February 1, 2010.