I want my music television

by W. Andrew Powell

I consider today a rather sad day for the whole Canadian media landscape. For almost a year now CTV Globemedia has been working toward their acquisition of CHUM, but they had to wait for a ruling from the CRTC (the government body that makes the rules for what can be done on radio, TV, cable and telephones) that would outline how much of CHUM they could keep.

The problem with the takeover was that it would put them in ownership of two TV stations in a number of markets, and that’s a CRTC no-no. So, the CRTC told CTV Globemedia yesterday that they had to sell off all of the Citytv stations, but they could keep the rest of the company.

Now, this is where it gets bad if you ask me. Sweeping in to take over the Citytv stations is Rogers Media, a company that really doesn’t have any expertise in running a station like Citytv Toronto. I actually happen to think that Citytv in Toronto is a wonderful thing, and it represents our city really well, but I’m not sure Rogers will know what to do with it. If they decide to step in and make changes, will they really know what they’re doing? I personally don’t think it will bode well for the station, but time will tell.

However my biggest problem with the deal is that it leaves MuchMusic, and all the other CHUM cable stations, in the hands of CTV Globemedia. I’ve been a fan of MuchMusic since I was a kid, but why would CTV Globemedia keep MuchMusic around now? There would be no sense for them to run MTV on one station, which doesn’t let them play music videos because MTV is licensed as a talk station, and also run a competitor like MuchMusic.

There’s absolutely nothing we can do but wait and see, and I won’t deny that MuchMusic isn’t the station that it was 5 or 10 years ago, but I still don’t want to see it in the hands of a company who will potentially wipe it out of existence. If anything I’d like to see two fully formed music stations, but for some insane reason MuchMusic was given the only licence for that format in Canada, thus sealing it’s fate today.

So, yes, my guess is that the days of Much are numbered, and it’s not a very big number either. I hope I’m wrong about this, but it seems unlikely that the station will survive the year, which leads me to think that I’m just about done with regular television programming. Give me downloaded programs and streaming shows online any day – at least on the net I know I can find more than one company that’s offering music programming. I’m sick of being stuck with Canadian television as it moves to a deathly stale landscape that doesn’t know the meaning of the word “competition”, especially in a key market as big as music programming.

Call it wishful thinking, but maybe it’s about time a company like Global Television/CanWest MediaWorks launched a music station and petitioned the CRTC to drop their outdated rules… just a thought folks.

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