Fox News North accepts defeat (or, as they’d put it, stops begging for welfare)
Looks like any legal arguments against Fox News North may soon be over, as Pierre Karl Péladeau announced yesterday that Quebecor (parent company of Sun Media) is dropping its demands for special government treatment for the right-wing “controversially Canadian” cable news channel. This is a big change from the first application Sun News TV made in which they effectively demanded the government force cable and satellite operators to put them on the dial of every TV in the nation. When the CRTC shot them down, the since-departed head of Sun News, Kory Teneycke, bragged that “we’ll get exactly what we’re asking for at the end of the day.” Now the Globe and Mail is reporting that Quebecor has decided that since they won’t get what they want, they’re going to stop trying.
Speaking to reporters outside the Canadian Club in Ottawa on Tuesday, Mr. Péladeau said it would now withdraw that request, applying for the same Category 2 licence governing many digital specialty channels.
“We’ve decided to go with the policies of the CRTC,” said Quebecor spokesman Serge Sasseville. He reiterated earlier arguments by the company that both CBC Newsworld and CTV Newsnet had years to build a subscriber base with their must-carry status on basic cable, and said Quebecor wanted the same help for the first few years of the channel’s existence.
“We are in favour of deregulation, but that [three years] would have been a transition period for us … but we are part of the free market, so we decided to renounce that special request.”
Back when Teneycke was brashly declaring that Quebecor would get everything they wanted from the CRTC, we wondered if his “brazen douchbaggery” would be a hallmark of the network he was trying to shepherd to Canadians’ cable boxes. With Kory gone, it looks like Quebecor isn’t in the mood for a long and public fight over regulations and special allowances.
Don’t worry though. If the legal and technical arguments over Fox News North are over, the political and emotional arguments have clearly just begun. We do wonder, however, if Sun News still intends to hire Ezra Levant after that whole Nazi episode. No, not the Star Trek Nazi episode.
• Sun TV gears down licence application [Globe and Mail]
• Sun TV may relent on special status [National Post]
• Sun TV drops CRTC special request [Toronto Sun]
• Sun TV no longer chasing must carry licence [CTV News]
• Quebecor snuffs Sun TV News controversy, to apply for regular Cat 2 licence [The Wire Report]