Canada's big TV ownership groups will have to jump over new hurdles if they want to shutter any of their local TV stations, according to licence renewals granted today by the country's broadcast regulator.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says station owners will have to give 120 days notice of an intended closure, during which time the regulator will open the proposed shutdown to public hearings.
CRTC officials say that could result in the regulator denying permission for closing a station, but that there are no guarantees the station would remain open.
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The CRTC is also requiring large local English-language stations to air six hours a week — three hours in smaller markets — of so-called locally reflective news programming as part of their overall local programming commitments.
Officials say they'll be monitoring news broadcasts, and will require annual reports from stations, to verify that the requirements are being met.
The new requirements are part of five-year licence renewals for Bell Media Inc., Corus Entertainment Inc., and Rogers Media Inc., as well as French-language Groupe TVA and Groupe V, which take effect in September.