Rogers cancels newscast 0
Rogers TV has pulled the plug on its First Local newscast.
"Our perception was that the show was doing fantastic for us, more people were watching all the time," said Cindy MacDonald, regional station manager of Rogers TV on Sperling Drive.
However, MacDonald said news show resources - both personnel and financial requirements needed to produce the First Local newscast - were costly.
With the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruling last fall mandating that more community-based programming begin in the new year, Rogers decided to re-jig their format.
First Local, with hosts George Bryson and Cameron Brown, aired its last show Friday.
Its traditional two-minute news stories and five minutes of sports will morph into a longer informational format with a half-hour sportscast, more in-depth features and more local coverage, MacDonald said.
"Viewers still get to see George and Cameron," said MacDonald, adding no one is losing their job over the change in formating.
The CRTC review of community television policies last fall called for a restructuring in the allotment of community-based programming, she said.
Where former television stations were required to run a 60/40 split; with 30% of the 60 being local broadcasting, the Jan.1, 2011 split requires an increase to 35%, and by 2014, 50% of the 60% local programming has to be directly community based.
The remaining 40% is to be network programming.
"Our whole point here is to provide more access to the community," said MacDonald.
Rogers is continually looking for fresh show ideas, proposed by the public and of interest to the public, she said. "We're not abandoning the community. If anything, we're doing more."
From the transcripts of the CRTC telecommunications commission last May in Quebec, one of the speakers was John Harris Stevenson, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto's High School, studying new media and public policy, as well as the current president of CHUO-FM in Ottawa and the founding director of the Community Radio Fund of Canada.
Harris Stevenson said to the commission: 'Community broadcasting is successful when it is owned and programmed to the local level by not-for-profit community organizations with active members and deep community ties. Effective community accountability of the kind needed to create truly great community programming is systematically impossible in the for-profit corporate environment. Conversely, community ownership provides the best value for dollars spent on community media.'
MacDonald said because they are funded by their subscribers, they will be spending more money on local access programming.
Rogers' hour-long Politically Speaking show running in the Borden-Alliston area will be expanded to include a Midland-based version hosted by 104.1 DOCK FM radio's host Brian Wicks.
Meanwhile, the new Tony Guergis Live show, hosted by the former mayor of Springwater Township debuts tonightt, offering Simcoe County residents a chance to share their point of view on a variety of matters.