Sun TV gets green light from CRTC
Sun TV News, Quebecor's all-news network, has been approved by Canada's broadcast regulator.
The CRTC announced on Friday that it has granted the forthcoming national news service approval to broadcast as an English-language, Category 2, specialty TV channel.
In its statement, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission reiterated "the importance of maintaining and enhancing the plurality of editorial voices in local and national markets and ensuring that Canadians are exposed to an appropriate plurality of those voices."
"The licensing of additional competitive mainstream national news services is one means of achieving this objective," the CRTC statement added.
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The CRTC's list of Category 2 specialty channels is wide-ranging and includes services such as Animal Planet, National Geographic Channel, the NHL Network, GameTV and Nickelodeon.
"Today marks the dawn of a new era for Canadian news media," Quebecor Media president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau said in a statement reacting to the CRTC announcement.
"[Sun TV News] will aim to challenge conventional wisdom and offer Canadians a new choice and a new voice on TV."
Run by Quebecor's TVA Group and Sun Media divisions, the new right-leaning network will replace the over-the-air Sun TV station in Toronto and have its headquarters there.
'Hard news and straight talk'
Since Péladeau unveiled plans for the network in June, its motto has been "hard news and straight talk." Some in the industry have dubbed the service "Fox News North" — a label Sun TV News officials have rejected.
Quebecor had initially sought Category 1 status, which would guarantee it a place among the default channels for all cable subscribers, like news rivals such as CBC News Network and CTV News Channel.
However, the CRTC is not considering new tier-one broadcast licences until October 2011, following the switchover of all Canadian TV signals from analog to digital.
The media company subsequently requested a must-carry exemption for its Category 2 licence bid. The request was to be the subject of a public hearing scheduled this month, but Quebecor announced it was dropping the must-carry bid in October.
In recent months, Sun TV News has announced a number of high-profile hirings, including former CBC journalist Krista Erickson, commentator and broadcaster Charles Adler, veteran journalist David Akin, radio broadcaster Brian Lilley and columnist Ezra Levant.
The network is expected to take to the airwaves in spring 2011.