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CHUM Asks Canada to Set Aside Rival Pay Radio Licenses

CHUM Asks Canada to Set Aside Rival Pay Radio Licenses

One of the entities that wants to start a pay radio service in Canada is appealing a decision by the government that also gives the green light to competing applications that would deliver two satellite services.
Earlier appeals came from French-language cultural organizations and a coalition of English-language cultural lobbyists and labor groups.
CHUM and Astral Media had proposed a terrestrial repeater-based service using the Eureka-147 DAB technology. They now have appealed to federal regulators to set aside the approvals of its rivals. Several other broadcasters joined the appeal.
CHUM/Astral questions the level and quality of Canadian content in the satellite offerings. Ten percent of the Sirius and XM channels would have to be Canadian, with 2.5% French-language. CHUM/Astral’s content, it says, would be nothing but Canadian.
CHUM executive Paul Ski called the content quotas imposed on its rivals a “dramatic departure” from precedent that would harm Canadian artists.
In a statement, CHUM and Astral also said they believe the decision to allow U.S.-based Sirius and XM to operate in Canada has implications beyond radio, as at least one of the satcasters has announced plans to launch video services, setting a precedent for the “entire audio visual sector in Canada as new wireless entertainment devices emerge.”
The Canadian cabinet can set aside the regulators’ ruling, effectively dismissing the licenses, or return the matter for reconsideration, according to the Globe and Mail. The cabinet must make a decision by September.
Meanwhile, the Toronto entrepreneur teaming up with XM in Canadian Satellite Radio has been quoted in Canadian media as saying CHUM wants a monopoly on pay radio. John Bitove said his company earlier turned down an attempt by CHUM to buy a majority interest, the Globe and Mail reported.
CHUM said it was approached to explore its possible interest in acquiring a minority stake in CSR but that it did not accept the offer, “nor did we ‘try to buy a majority interest’ in CSR,” CHUM President/CEO Jay Switzer said in a statement.