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Notable Pink Presence in Canadian Cable TV Application Round

THE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released this week the 'bare bones' details of applications made for the latest round of cable TV channel licensing.  No less than six have been filed for gay content stations.

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The Levy family in Hamilton, which operate Headline Sports, did indeed submit an application as reported last week.  Calling their intended channel 'PrideVision,' they described it as 'offer[ing] news and information, current affairs, lifestyle and entertainment programming designed to meet the needs of the gay and lesbian community.'

In contrast to the family owned independent company in Hamilton, Canadian broadcasting giant CHUM apparently would like to expand CityTV's QT: Queer Television to full-time airing.  Their applications describes their intention to be 'dedicated to programming aimed at the gay and lesbian community.'

The Gay Channel is proposed by Boxer Four Entertainment Inc. of Toronto, who want to air 'programs of comedy sketches, improvisations, unscripted works, stand up comedy, drama, informal education / recreation and leisure.'  And Xybermedia Inc., also of Toronto, would like to start 'ALT-TV,' which would be 'newscasts and programs reporting on local, regional, national and international events; features of special interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities.'

And finally, francophone content is hoped with 'G & L,' described simply as 'gay and lesbian-oriented programming,' by Les Chaînes Télé Astral inc. of Montreal.

Diversity Extreme

The extent of Community associations with these applications remains unclear.  The Levy family's company Levfam Holdings, for example, has also applied to launch the 'Horse Network' and the 'Health and Wellness Network.'

All these licenses will be for either satellite reception or the new premium digital channels on cable.
This would be the start of the cable television 'universe.'  Going where no ratings conscious broadcaster would go before, the list of channel hopefuls includes ones for nerds, addicts and devotees of soap operas, auctions, museums, zoos and yoga.  Talk of the possible future convergence of television and internet media is increasing.

A total of 452 applications were received by the CRTC.  Ninety-one of them, and the gay five described above, are for what's known as 'Category 1,' which has specific Canadian content requirements.  Ten new stations will be licensed from that applicant pool.

'Category 2,' on the other hand, has fewer requirements but does not guarantee the broadcaster a place on the rosters of the cablevision companies.  It would have to be negotiated.  Levfam applied in both categories for PrideVision.

In addition, all these licenses will be for either satellite reception or the new premium digital channels on cable.

Hearings are not expected to begin until August.  The CRTC stated it will release the exact dates in May, and the details of the applications at that time, as well..  The new channels likely won't be up and running for about a year.