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Canadian Broadcast Lobby Group Closes

With its television membership at loggerheads, the CAB closes up shop

Following a seemingly insurmountable impasse among its television and cable members, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) is shuttering.

Chairman Elmer Hildebrand told the CBC that the group has decided to close down by 1 June 2010.

Hildebrand, who is also president and CEO of radio broadcaster Golden West Broadcasting, said he hopes to form a new organization in the future that represents only radio broadcasters.

The CAB (also known in francophone Canada as Association Canadienne des Radiodiffuseurs) was founded in 1926 and has lobbied the Canadian government on behalf of the Canadian radio and television industry.

The dispute between cable operators and television broadcasters centers on demands from broadcasters for a fee to carry broadcast signals across satellite and cable systems. The issue has simmered for a while, but came to a head in December.

Broadcasters have argued that without additional funds, such as from retransmission, local programming will have to be reduced. Cable and satellite operators have cast the fee as a tax, and have complained to regulators that broadcasters are airing biased coverage of the issue.