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Uncertainty About Canadian Pay Radio Ends

Uncertainty About Canadian Pay Radio Ends

It looks like satellite radio in Canada is a “go.” The word comes from XM- and Sirius Satellite Radio, who say their Canadian partners have won approval from that country’s federal government to deliver the subscription service to Canadians. XM says its partner, Canadian Satellite Radio, and Sirius says its partners, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Standard Radio, Inc., will deliver several channels of English and French-language Canadian programming nationwide.
The decision comes just before a Sept. 14 deadline. The decision to approve satellite radio by the Canadian equivalent of the FCC needed approval by either a cabinet committee or the full cabinet by that date.
In August, there were reports that Canada’s Heritage Minister had drafted a request for the Canadian Radio-Television Commission to reconsider approving satellite radio in Canada because some recording artists groups in Quebec raised concerns about the amount of Canadian content the satcasters would provide.
That set off reactions from auto and media companies, which had spent millions of dollars and began hires based on the initial approval of pay radio.
The CRTC approved three pay radio licenses earlier this year. The third, for CHUM/Astral Media, is for a similar service using terrestrial repeaters rather than satellites. CHUM/Astral had appealed the approvals for Sirius and XM, saying it probably wouldn’t be able to launch if those services were approved.