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Open Letter to my MP on Fee for Carriage

Today I checked my e-mail hand found this letter from my cable television provider Rogers Cable.

Dear Rogers Cable Customer:

{snip}

I am now writing to inform you of yet another broadcasting policy proposal that is under consideration by the CRTC

After rejecting it twice, the CRTC has reintroduced the idea of having a fee-for-carriage: a payment to Canadian over the air broadcasters that could ultimately end up costing cable and satellite TV subscribers between $5 and $10 per month!
The proposal is being championed by over the air television networks such as CTV and Global (Canwest Media). These companies also own highly profitable specialty channels, such as TSN and History, and therefore overall are financially healthy.
Furthermore, the CRTC has suggested that if the cable and satellite distributors don’t go along with the fee-for-carriage scheme, the television signals of American network stations, (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and PBS) which we have distributed since cable TV began, will be taken away.

The “fee for carriage” proposal is strongly opposed by Rogers and most other cable and satellite distributors.
You as a cable TV customer can take a definitive position to oppose this new tax, called “fee-for-carriage”.
To do so you should contact the CRTC before September 14.

Simply tell the CRTC what you think of the idea of “fee-for-carriage” by clicking on this link: http://support.crtc.gc.ca/rapidscin/default.aspx?lang=En
• Then Click on the 2009-411-3 under the heading “Notice # / Deadline Date”
• Select the “Comment” option in the drop box
• Fill out your comment.
• Follow the remaining instructions until you are done.
You may also contact your Member of Parliament by e-mail, regular mail or telephone. MPs always appreciate hearing from their constituents.

Philip B. Lind
Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications Inc.

So, I’m going to put the following letter in the mail on Monday:

Mr. Rodney Weston
Member of Parliament – Saint John
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

September 4, 2009

RE: Fee for Carriage

Greetings Mr. Weston

The proposal before the CRTC concerns me greatly. Many of your constituents rely greatly on power of television as one of the only sources of knowledge and entertainment. With the coming decommissioning of analogue TV signals across Canada and that fact that digital signals do not have the range of an Analog signal many are or will be forced to bring in signals via the use of an intermediary such as a Cable, Satellite, or future IPTV provider would be not only a benefit but a necessity.

It is also not level in fairness either since many of these stations provide their programming or parts of as streams or downloads via IPTV (over the internet). If a fee for carriage is introduced it should also come with an opt-out to receiving those selected channels or be charged to users the receive OTA (Over the air Signals) as it is not fair to charge some of the potential viewers of the signal and not others.

In addition, this is a tax on the poor in out community, demographic research proves that largest demographic of viewers in Canada is the low to fixed income bracket. It is proven that this area of the population of subscribers subscribe to Cable and Satellite services, as it is one of the more affordable means of entertainment for larger families. This is truly a significant proportion of your constituents in Saint John.

In conclusion, the local television content providers not only should but also must find a different model of producing content. This must not be allowed to be it.

Yours truly,

Charles E. Frees-Melvin

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Okay, or maybe Save Local that gives a $#!+

While in my last post I may have took the position that Saving Local is not important. That is not true. I am against CTV and Global who have for the last few years, mainly CTV, treated New Brunswick as a second class maritime province in terms of share of news coverage and local programming.

Now on to the main topic of this post, CBC Radio 1 in Saint John. In reality Saint John has about 4 main contacts for news CHSJ, CBC, CHNI, and Telegraph-Journal. However, only the Telegraph-Journal and CBC provide the depth of information and understanding of our community as a whole. Despite radio being close to a hundred year old technology. The style of the CBC just draws you in and is never shallow on good storytelling.

Technically speaking the CBC does have a trend on over staffing on productions on the TV end but with the radio it takes less people to technically produce the shows so that leaves cutting the staff as ripping out pages from the unpublished book, still there but more shallow. I definitely plan on attending the rally in King’s Square this weekend.

We Want Our CBC

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Why not to “Save Local”

Today I seem ads on CTVGlobeMedia stations that are urging the government to require cable/satellite distributors to pay for distributing the signal. I think this is just plain wrong. Here in Saint John there are 4 broadcast stations CBAT (CBC Fredericton but licensed and has its main transmitter in Saint John), CKLT (Has no programming differences from CJCH (CTV Atlantic) in Halifax, NS), CIHF-TV-2 (a semi satellite of CIHF-TV known as Global Maritimes from Halifax.), and CBAFT-1 which is a re-transmitter of CBAFT the Radio-Canada Moncton feed.
When it comes to local programming CTV is the absolute worst, as I have noted before at most has 2 stories from the Saint John area and 4-5 total from the entire Province of New Brunswick on a good day. Global TV despite their severe cut backs have managed to keep their news stories basically equal per province.
The basics is that all 4 of these broadcasters offer their signals for free over-the-air (a.k.a. poverty-vision). The cable company simply re-transmits the feed via an antenna to cables to the subscribers. Why should we pay to have something that we get for free anyway? In fact this even benefits the TV stations by making it more convenient to watch the stations resulting in more viewers rather than switching over to better content from away. Thus removing ad dollars.

In less dense markets like the Maritimes TV must come up with a different model in order to survive. Depending on a single news program is clearly not the way to go, but neither is alienating the viewers by making some pay, while others do not. Do we consider a TV tax like the United Kingdom? I don’t thinks so either but fees must not be duel standard. The CRTC recently made a decision that requires distributors to no longer require a bundle of channels. In this schema you can choose to not purchase stations, adding fees will just doom local programming to certain failures.

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Local News, yeah right…

Today I am going to post another gripe post. This week’s victim is CTV Atlantic late night news, last night I sat down to hear what was happening. There was 13 stories from Nova Scotia, 1 from PEI, 3 from NB and 3 from elsewhere. Like WTF! To make it even worse of the 3 stories they were flood relief from the northwest New Brunswick, a boil order from Oromocto, and an algae ploom in Moncton.

It is like nobody cares about what is happening in New Brunswick, but to add insult with the lack of caring by dumping on us by adding an algae story to boost your NB news content.

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And the holidays are done! or are they!

So I haven’t had the opportunity to update this page in a while. It has been really busy lately.

I spent many hours this past month working on the 12 Daytimes of Christmas on Rogers Television. The final two episodes are going to re-air on January 1-4th (11am, 4pm, and 10pm.)

Also another note of something to watch was the locally shot “Sticks and Stones” 8pm AT Jan 1st on CTV.

Now getting onto some of my movies, the pilot episode of the “Badger Hunter” is almost edited for it’s February release date. We are working on it’s website this weekend.

On Boxing Day, I learned that the Toronto Film School is closing which now is gonna change my plans for a October move to Toronto. Tony and I have been looking now at the Toronto Film College but have not heard much about it, also Toronto apartment hunting seems like a daunting monster, even harder than the actual move.

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And the fat lady has sung.

Wow, what a nail-bitter of an election. After 7 long years of prosperity it is now time for Lord to ride off in the beautiful sunset. New Brunswick is in such good shape now that Graham should have an easy term ahead.

Some of the results were shocking but in the end a Camille Theriault said in 1999. The people of New Brunswick are always right and they have decided it was time to change. But is it really, is our system really right or is it time that it becomes fixed.

When CTV News Atlantic signed off the popular vote (votes of everyone combined) came in the it did not match the real seat count results. 29 Lib / 26 PC / 0 NDP / 0 Ind. Which in percent that works out to 52.7% Lib / 47.3% PC / 0% NDP / 0% Ind. But the popular vote was. 47.7% PC / 47.0% Lib / 5.1% NDP / 0.2% Ind. That in seats would be 26 PC / 26 Lib / 3 NDP. So the question to ask is this. Is this fair that close to 10% of votes in NB do not matter.

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Commentary on TV Coverage of the “Attack on America”

Jour 1013- Intro. to Journalism

Charles E. Frees-Melvin (920722)

Thursday 13 September 2001

Subject: Commentary on TV Coverage of the “Attack on America”

I woke up on a beautiful summer day, as usual, went to class and came back for a noon rest. I left my dorm room and went to see my neighbours in the next room, who watch movies all the time, I saw the WTC and Pentagon on fire and ask, “What movie is this?” They responded with a “Dude, this is real!” At that moment I returned to my room and turned my T.V. on to watch a day of coverage. Switching back and forth from: NBC/CBC/Global/ABC/CTV/CBS/FOX/CNN/&TBS. I found that most of the footage was from CNN but I was hooked on the commentary by Peter Mansbridge (CBC).

Peter made me feel more secure in really knowing what was going on. It was also very helpful to have it from a Canadian perspective. I found that Lloyd Robertson (CTV) did not really have as of a heart touching production as Peter Jennings (ABC News).

Some of the most questionable stuff I saw was the broadcast from Global National News where most questionably the showed the man in freefall from the north tower. Also, Global National News had a very inconsistent format where the show was from Toronto than to Vancouver and Dartmouth and had so many hosts that about 2 pm they were contradicting each other and you lost the continuity of what was going on.

Also, details of the Pentagon looked liked like they were given less importance to the events at the World Trade Centre on all the broadcasts except WTBS from Atlanta. GA.

Now it is the evening of Thursday 13 September 2001, a full 60 hours after the “Attack on America.” Airports are slowly reviving. Survivors are slowly one by one being pulled out of the debris. The remnants of fires still exist in both buildings. “They are just spotted fires, and we would not like to pour water into the building since it could pour down into open spaces where there are most likely still survivors,” a rescue worker stated on CBS News he went on to say that, “It is likely that people could survive in the subfloors for days or weeks.”