The Times and How They Are Indeed Changing

What a busy summer! I’ve barely had time to recover from a wonderful Maritime summer vacation, going full time at my job (and what a life change that will be!), getting ready to move from my apartment, and just thinking about what the future holds for me. The big news that sparked all of this recuperating, reflection, and rethinking? After a year of letters, conversations, and a hearing, the CRTC issued its new Campus and Community Radio Policy in July!

It (of course) contains various regulations for campus and community broadcasters, such as how much local spoken word they need to produce, or how much Canadian music they need to play. But it also includes a mechanism for some much needed funding for the sector. And who will be managing and distributing those funds, you might ask? The organization I work for — the Community Radio Fund of Canada. What a proud moment for me. For sure, I have played my part in that. But I also think back to the summer of 2004 when four or five people first started talking about a radio fund. What a journey it has been since then. It’s amazing how it feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago.

For those who are interested and have not yet seen it, here’s the CRTC-published policy as well as a press release from my organization. And congrats to us all!

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-499: Campus and community radio policy (July 22, 2010)

CRTC DECISION PROVIDES BOOST FOR CAMPUS-COMMUNITY RADIO, BUT A LOT OF WORK STILL TO BE DONE

A First for the Sector: $775K annually from broadcasting industry

Ottawa, July 22, 2010 — The Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) is pleased to announce that the campus and community radio sector will receive vital funding following the decision released today by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on the Review of the Campus and Community Radio Policies.

The Commission approved part of the CRFC’s request for mandatory funding from the private broadcasting sector through contributions to the Canadian Content Development (CCD). Once in place, this will mean that the CRFC will likely receive $775,000 annually. This funding will then be distributed through the CRFC’s programs to more than 140 stations and their representative associations.

“This is a encouraging step in funding for the sector,” said CRFC President Ian Pringle. “With this funding, we will be able to begin providing more meaningful support to stations across the country as they work to better serve their communities, tackle the challenges of 21st-century broadcasting in innovative ways and give voice to Canada’s diverse experience where it is the richest – at the local level.”

Since its inception in 2007, the CRFC has already distributed more than $300,000 to support 42 local programming and training initiatives across the country. From youth radio camps, to a series about local history, to training immigrant women to tell their own stories, these projects have had immediate and direct impact for stations and Canadian communities.

The CRFC thanks the Commission for recognizing the importance of campus and community stations, both in the broadcasting system and for Canadians. With this funding, our stations will be able to better serve their local communities by producing strong locally relevant Canadian content.

However, this funding is just a start in helping the CRFC fulfill its mandate. Pringle notes: “We did not get everything we asked for, but this decision remains a step forward in the growth of community programming. There is a lot of work still to be done, and we are ready to take it on.”

The CRFC also believes that this funding will have a significant and meaningful impact on the promotion of local Canadian talent. For decades, our stations have been committed to providing exposure and airplay emerging, independent, local, and/or niche musicians. By strengthening campus and community stations, the Commission and the private broadcasters are also directly contributing to the Canadian music industry.

For more information about the CRFC, please visit www.communityradiofund.org.

Good show, C/C Radio. Good Show!

Last week, people from all across the country appeared at the CRTC hearing for their review of the campus and community radio policies. From the joint presentation of national associations (NCRA, ARC du Canada, ARCQ) to small rural stations to those that are in Canada’s largest cities, it was truly an event. I was even happy with my own presentation from the Community Radio Fund of Canada.

I was truly beaming with pride as I listened to presentation after presentation. Everyone was unique, and had different perspectives and solutions, which was very important to this process. But what blew me away was the sense of a national community. Simply amazing. It really felt like we were a sector. We were strong, open, honest, well spoken, and we made an impression with the Commission. Our messages were clear. We were together while still being individuals. Again, simply amazing.

When I started working at the NCRA in 2002, we had 17 members and no real relationships with other associations. The attendance at the NCRA’s national conferences was quite small, and there was not a lot of communication between the organization and the members (although there were individual board directors who certainly kept the lines open). In these last 8 years working at the national level, I’ve seen a lot of changes and a huge growth. Sure, I played my part in that, but it cannot be attributed to any one individual. In fact, there are so many that have played a part in this growth, I can’t even count everyone. And that was evident in what I saw last week at the hearing. So cheers to us all! And here’s to hoping that when the decision comes out we will all be dancing in the streets!

GroundWire Podcast for November 9-20 – Abdelkhadr Belaouni and Student Poverty

I’ve missed a couple of episodes of GroundWire. Check out their site for podcasts covering topics like: Tar Sands – Midwifery – Equity – accessibility and disability awareness – Drug addictions and children – McGill’s “Echoes of the Holocaust” – Ontario Disability Pension Plan, Autonomy of Quebec Universities – All-Woman Pharmacy’s Trans Challenge – Zellers/HBC strike – Nova Scotia Community College employees strike – CRTC’s Campus and Community Radio Policy Review – Golden Crown Hotel evictions in Vancouver

GroundWire is a twice-monthly dose of grassroots, independent journalism from the campus-community radio sector of Canada. It is a project of the National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA). Visit the GroundWire website to listen.

THE HEADLINES:

In Montreal, migrant justice advocates are celebrating a significant victory this week in the case of Abdelkader Belaouni. Aaron Lakoff | CKUT

From Vancouver, perspectives on the disruption of the Victoria torch relay and where the resistance movement is headed. VanRad Collective

In Toronto, students have had enough of living below the poverty line. The Student Day of Action on November 5th saw crowds demanding lower tuition fees, as recession job losses target youth, part-time and racialized workers. Omme Salma Rahemtullah | CHRY

THE FEATURES:

A recent Queen’s University report indicates medical students want more training to help them treat people with intellectual disabilities. Indeed, 93 per cent feel training in intellectual disabilities should be improved. VoicePrint/Accessible Media Inc. spoke with Dr. Philip Burge, author of the report.

November 20, 2009 marks 20 years since the U.N Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ontario youth in and from foster care got together to talk about the Convention’s goals around education and if those goals are a reality in Ontario. Jacky Harrison | CHRY, with files from the Network Community Group and the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.

A new report, A Flawed Compass, suggests the Correctional Service of Canada is trampling on the constitutional rights of prisoners. Authors Michael Jackson and Graham Stewart, as well as former inmates and activists, warn Canada is headed down the road to more rights abuses. Dee Le Comte | CKUT

This episode was anchored by Melissa Beckford and Ian Gormly, and produced by Alissa Tutay and Jacky Tuinstra Harrison. Music by Steel.

(Links updated November 2013)

CRTC Policy Review news for Campus and Community Radio

One of the reasons I’ve been hanging out more in the physical world is that I was working on the submission of the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) to the CRTC Policy Review for our sector. One month and 22 pages later, here we are. And more than 100 stations, organizations, private broadcasters, governement agencies, and individuals submitted their thoughts as well. More information in the CRFC posting below.

CRFC Participates in Review of Campus and Community Radio
Friday, 16 October 2009

In July 2009, the CRTC launched a review of its Campus and Community Radio Policies. The CRFC filed its comments today outlining the funding reality of the sector and some possible solutions to help lessen its financial stresses. The CRFC is recommending a funding model for both the campus and community radio stations and the CRFC that includes funding from the federal government as well as Canada’s private broadcasters and distributors. You can read the CRFC’s comments here. The CRTC hearing for this process will begin on January 18, 2010. (Links updated November 2013)

Net Neutrality News

I like to keep an eye on things around Net Neutrality, but I will certainly leave it to the experts to put forth some thoughts and opinions about the recent CRTC Decision on this issue.

CRTC Sets Net Neutrality Framework But Leaves Guarantees More Complaints
Michael Geist

Wednesday October 21, 2009
The CRTC’s net neutrality (aka traffic management) decision is out and though it does not go as far as some advocates might hope, it unquestionably advances the ball forward on several important fronts. When considering the decision, it is important to remember that 12 months ago, there was virtually no ISP disclosure of traffic management practices and even an unwillingness to acknowledge that there was an issue. Today’s CRTC decision signifies that traffic management is not a free-for-all and the days of ISPs arguing that they can do whatever they please on their networks is over. That said, it also guarantees that traffic management practices such as throttling will continue and it is going to take more complaints to concretely address the issue. READ MORE

Net Neutrality Developments
Marie Elliott, SaveOurNet.ca (site no longer active)
According to Michael Geist, the Canadian government should take some initiative and aid the complete enforcement of net neutrality in Canada. Now that a policy has been created regarding net neutrality, the government needs to make sure that ISPs are following this framework correctly. Geist mainly places this task in the hands of Industry Minister Tony Clement. Geist thinks that Clement should become more engaged in the issue. Fortunately, Clement has stated he is “watching those [Internet Service] providers very closely and [does] not want to see a situation where consumers are put at risk in terms of their access to the Internet.”

Net Neutrality in Canada Still a Work in Progress
Michael Geist

Monday October 26, 2009
The release last week of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s report on Internet traffic management – known as the net neutrality decision – attracted national attention. Canadians, Internet service providers, and politicians debated whether the regulator had struck the right balance in addressing how ISPs manage Internet traffic. While some headlines seemed to suggest that the CRTC has given Canada’s ISPs the green light to do as they please, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues the reality is that the decision establishes several notable requirements and restrictions, but leaves the door open for further action from the government. READ MORE

CRTC dropped the ball on net neutrality: Charlie Angus
Decision leaves consumers and users out in the cold

(From a news release dated Thursday, October 22, 2009)
OTTAWA – Yesterday’s CRTC decision on Internet traffic-management practices is a blow to the future of digital innovation in Canada, said New Democrat Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay). The decision allows Bell and other giant Internet service providers (ISPs) to throttle the internet traffic of competitors or end users if they see fit. This interference will be bad news for small third-party competitors and leaves consumers subject to digital snooping and interference from cable giants. Angus said the CRTC has once again failed to stand up for the public interest. “Basically the CRTC has left the wolves in charge of the henhouse. ISP giants have been given the green light to shape traffic on the internet in favour of their corporate interests,” he said. “This decision is a huge blow to the future competitiveness of the internet.” READ MORE

Did the CRTC just crap the bed on Canada’s net neutrality decision?
Wirelessnorth.ca (article no longer available)
The answers so far are no, yes and maybe. Depending who you ask. Brush up on the announcement and initial reactions here: Peter Nowak has excellent coverage today of the CRTC call (long time coming) on net neutrality in Canada. Michael Geist and Ars Technica offer some balanced opinion. What everyone seems to agree on is that CRTC’s framework is reasonable, and is highly progressive relative to where the debate was just a year or more ago. We’ve argued in the past for economic solutions to ISP capacity which is what the CRTC is also stressing.

The Open Internet: It’s for everyone
Marie Elliott, SaveOurNet.ca (site no longer active)
Free Form (site no longer active) created a video about keeping the Internet free and open, and how this will benefit people everywhere. Check it out!

Net Neutrality FAQ: What’s in it for You
Tim Greene, Network World
PCWorld

The FCC has approved a notice of proposed rule making on the subject of net neutrality, and here are a few questions and answers to help shine a light on what that means. (See “FCC takes first step toward net neutrality rules“) What exactly did the FCC do? The FCC agreed to consider what regulations, if any, to impose on ISPs about the applications and services that they allow, ban or rate limit. The process calls for formally proposing rules and holding public hearings on them. A vote about the rules themselves will take place sometime next year. READ MORE

(Links updated November 2013)