Media Study Says Hundreds of Canadian Radio and TV Stations at Risk of Closure

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As many as 40 local TV channels and 200 Canadian radio stations could be forced to close over the next three years as financial pressures media companies face intensify under the COVID-19 pandemic, suggests a new study from an industry advocacy group.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters released a report on Wednesday warning of potential closures and widespread job cuts as private television and radio broadcasters face a cumulative shortfall of $ 1.06 billion by the end of 2022.

The most vulnerable are the country’s AM radio stations, according to the report, along with other independent private radio and television operations in the country’s small markets.

The study, titled “The Canadian Media Crisis and the Future of Local Broadcasting,” was commissioned by CAB, which represents the majority of private broadcasters in Canada, and conducted by the independent economics consultancy of Winnipeg media, Communications Management Inc.

The CAB is concerned about the fallout from a substantial erosion of local advertising revenue in recent months.

Radio stations could be hit hardest in the short term, the report suggests, in part because many advertisers cut spending during the pandemic and accelerated the decline in media industry revenues.

Private radio advertising revenue is expected to be $ 383 million lower than last year, he said.

Projections in the report suggest that without additional government support, these cuts could bankrupt 50 private local radio stations over the next four to six months.

Another 150 radio stations could collapse within 18 months, he said, causing up to 2,000 job losses.

TV stations could risk a similar fate with about 40 of Canada’s 94 private broadcasters in danger of shutting down within one to three years, research shows.

The CAB calls on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to act quickly in establishing a “fairer and more sustainable future” for local media.

Last month, the organization sent an emergency request to the CRTC requesting permission for broadcasters to be relieved of certain terms of their agreements, such as spending requirements on Canadian programming, for the ending broadcast year. August 31.

Lenore Gibson, Chair of the CAB, said broadcasters have “done everything they can to cut expenses” in areas such as administration, and “the last thing they want to do is cut costs. programming, but that’s the only area left now. ”

The CAB is urging the federal government to provide emergency regulatory assistance as well as greater “targeted support” to the industry starting this fall.

Without larger financial measures, the CAB says the effects could leave many communities with only national and international media organizations to provide them with most of their news, thereby eliminating most of the community coverage of local politics, health and education in parts of the country. .

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 26, 2020

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