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Satellite radio comes to Canada

"Canadian broadcasting should be Canadian." Pierre Juneau said those words in 1970 and he meant business. The Canadian Radio-Television Commission head said Canadian broadcasters were behaving like mouthpieces for American "entertainment factories," and introduced strict Canadian content rules for radio and television. Artists, actors, executives and politicians squared off. Would "CanCon" rules create a world-class recording industry and a "Canadian sound"? Or would they promote unwatchable shows, unlistenable music and mediocre Canadian talent?

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Music's new wave is a lot closer to coming ashore in Canada. People in the United States are already tuning in to satellite radio. Now, the CRTC has approved three applications, one involving the CBC, to provide the services in Canada. Will Canadian content regulations allow our artists to soar, or will American musicians drown them out? In this clip, CBC reporter Sandra Abma explains the new rules and restrictions regarding Canada's latest technology beaming down to Earth.
• Satellite radio is a national service that will give Canadians access to a wide range of programming and Canadian content. As a result, the new services will also provide significant opportunities for existing and emerging Canadian artists to showcase their talent and be heard not only across Canada, but throughout North America as well.

• Even though it's most commonly referred to as satellite radio, the service is more accurately called subscription or pay-radio, as it isn't always delivered by satellite.

• Two companies, XM Radio and Sirius Radio have been offering satellite radio service for years in the United States. On June 16, 2005, the CRTC reviewed three proposals that would bring the service to Canada and ended up approving all of them.

The three services approved in Canada are:
• Sirius Radio Canada, a partnership involving the CBC, Standard Radio Inc. and the U.S. firm Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.
• Canadian Satellite Radio Inc., headed by Toronto businessman John Bitove, in partnership with XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., and
• CHUM Subscription Radio Canada, a service that plans to send its signal through land-based transmitters that would only cover big cities at first.

• In order to receive satellite radio, you need to be able to purchase a satellite radio receiver. The receiver can either be a small device that hooks up to a home stereo or boom box, or it can be a dedicated radio that's installed in your car.
• Most satellite radio receivers cost between $70 and $300 each, depending on the make, installation costs, and optional audio enhancements. On top of the cost of the receiver, you have to pay a monthly subscription fee of around $13.

• One of the most significant benefits of satellite radio is the fact that the service is 100 per cent digital, which means CD-quality, crystal-clear sound.
• Unlike standard AM or FM radio, which is transmitted through land-based towers, satellite radio is beamed from outer space. No matter where you travel in Canada, you can still tune into the same stations.
• Also, satellite radio has the capacity to broadcast hundreds of channels at any time, allowing the listener to tune into any genre.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 16, 2005
Guests: Jon Bartlett, John Bitove, Cori Ferguson, Paul Ski
Reporter: Sandra Abma
Duration: 2:33

Last updated: September 17, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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