[rumori] CRTC tries to squash community TV station

From: David Bachner (bachnerATsubgenius.com)
Date: Wed Aug 15 2001 - 22:01:18 PDT

This may only be relevant to Canadians on the list... For those who don't
know what the CRTC is, it's like the Canadian FCC - except it's more
concerned with content regulation than spectrum management. The spectrum
management part is handled by Industry Canada....

Star Ray TV is a community television station broadcasting to Toronto's east
end on UHF channel 15 from Main and Gerrard. The station's owner and
founder, Jan Pachul, applied for a CRTC licence in 2000 and was denied a
licence for extremely bogus reasons. Basically, the corporate owned tv
stations like Globlal, City TV, Rogers, CTV, and 2 television industry
associations had their lawyers draw up some extremely self serving bogus
arguments against his application and the CRTC went along with it. Star Ray
TV went ahead anyway and started broadcasting without a licence. The CRTC
has caught up with him and is now accepting comments on their plan to issue
a manditory order "requiring Jan Pachul to cease and desist operating a
broadcasting undertaking at Toronto, Ontario or elsewhere in Canada, except
in compliance with the Broadcasting Act."

I strongly urge any of you who value public access to the airwaves to
examine the evidence and submit your comments to the CRTC. The deadline for
comments is Monday August 20. You can also email your comments. You'll find
the text of the notice and necessary addresses here
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Hearings/2001/N2001-8.htm and lots of
background info here http://www.srtv.on.ca/story.html . My submission to the
CRTC is below:



Ms. Ursula Menke
Secretary General
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N2

Re: Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2001-8

Dear Ms. Menke,

I am writing regarding the "Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2001-8". I feel
that the commission should NOT issue Jan Pachul of Star Ray TV a "manditory
order" to "cease and desist operating a broadcasting undertaking at Toronto"
for the following reasons:

1. Star Ray TV provides engaging, locally relevant programming that is
otherwise unavailable on the UHF band or on cable in Toronto. Star Ray TV
provides easier access to the local airwaves than Rogers Cable 10, City TV,
CFMT, Global, and CFTO combined. The programming I watch on UHF channel 15
better reflects the face of ordinary Torontonians than does Rogers Cable 10.
In recent years, programming on Rogers Cable 10 seems to be moving away from
grass roots productions in favor of professionally produced programs like
"The Erin Davis Show". Erin Davis is a professional broadcaster who also
hosts a successful and profitable commercial morning radio show on Roger's
owned CHFI 98.1 FM. This is hardly what any reasonable person would define
as "community television". Many amateur and low budget TV producers have
been either turned away or given the run-around by Rogers Cable 10 when
seeking access to the community airwaves. I was neither turned away, nor
given the run-around when I approached Jan Pachul for access to Star Ray
TV's airwaves. Without Star Ray TV, there would be no television station
fully dedicated to providing ordinary Torontonians access to OUR airwaves.

2. Star Ray TV provides more Canadian programming than any TV station on the
dial - on cable or off cable. It broadcasts an even higher percentage of
Canadian programming than the CBC! Star Ray TV's Canadian content far
exceeds the commision's requirements for television broadcast undertakings.

3. Star Ray TV's transmiter and technical setup have already been inspected,
approved and certified by Industry Canada. Star Ray TV's signal does not
interfere with any existing broadcast undertaking.

4. The commission's decision to deny Jan Pachul's application for "a new
low-power English-language television programming undertaking in Toronto"
(Decision CRTC 2000-340) was a mistake. Despite the fact that the commission
had received MORE THAN 8 TIMES the amount of supporting interventions over
opposing interventions, the commission's decision seemed to spend far more
time on the issues raised by those 5 opposing ones. Each one of those 5
interventions were submitted by heavy weights in the commercial broadcast
industry. Every one of these lawyer crafted letters raised issues that can
be best described as extremely self serving, with the clear intention of
blocking any new competition. In its decision, there were inconsistancies in
the commission's concerns over Pachul's application, in comparison with
previous decisions it has made with regards to at least 2 of the incumbant
broadcasters who intervened. For example, the commission expressed concern
that even non priority cable carriage (ch. 14 +) would provide Star Ray TV
with city wide coverage, beyond the neighborhood Pachul was applying to
serve, while City TV and CFMT have been granted licences to rebroadcast
their signals in Ottawa and London. They are both allowed to broadcast
several hundred kilometers beyond the Greater Toronto Area, even though
their focus seems to be targeted exclusively within the GTA both in
advertising and programming. One wonders why city wide cable coverage was
such an issue in Pachul's case. When Pachul stated that he would accept a
licence without cable coverage, the commission was then concerned that
Pachul would not be able to meet his business plan targets which were based
on cable coverage. It was a "catch 22" situation. The commission gave far
too much weight to the opposing intervener's bogus cable issue, and paid no
more a paragraph of lip service to the supporting interventions. Considering
that there were 43 supporting interventions and only 5 opposing ones, it is
very difficult to imagine how the public interest was served by Decision
CRTC 2000-340.

5. Toronto's communities are becoming increasingly impatient with our
increasingly monopolistic and largely culturally irrelevant broadcast
system, and are prepared to support broadcast undertakings that offer an
unfettered means of local self-expression - whether or not these
undertakings are granted a licence from the CRTC. LPTV has been in existance
in several countries for over 2 decades now. The commission has had more
than ample time to formulate an urban LPTV policy. The fact that the
commission has waited until 2001 to start developing this policy is quite
simply unacceptable in modern democatic country like Canada. Torontonians
are hungry for this kind of television. Despite the commision's refusal to
issue a licence to Star Ray TV, it has continued to broadcast. Television
broadcast undertakings (even the small scale ones) are quite costly to
operate. It should be noted that Star Ray TV's broadcasting activities could
not have been sustained AFTER the commission's refusal of licence if it did
not have significant community support. If the commission decides to issue
Jan Pachul a "manditory order" to "cease and desist operating a broadcasting
undertaking at Toronto", it will do so in opposition to the public interest
it is mandated to serve.

It should be noted that the commission requires all comments regarding
"Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2001-8" to be received by August 20, 2001 -
allowing only 21 days for the public to submit comments from the date of the
notice which is July 30, 2001. The commission also states all comment
"submissions must be received by the CRTC and by the operator at 204 Main
Street, Toronto, Ontario", when in fact the correct operator's address is
186 Main Street, not 204 Main Street.

In order for ordinary Torontonians to enjoy continued access to OUR public
airwaves, I strongly urge the commission to NOT issue Jan Pachul a
"manditory order" to "cease and desist operating the broadcasting
undertaking known locally as "Star Ray TV". Furthermore, I urge the
commission to consider options that would result in making Star Ray TV's
harmless broadcasts legal.

Yours Truly,

David Bachner
Media Services Manager
Trick Media

***end of document***

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