Radio/Television Station Group History
Corus Entertainment Inc.
On July 6th, following almost two years of negotiations, Corus received CRTC approval to acquire control of WIC Premium Corporation. This added twelve more radio stations to the Corus line-up, and a number of pay, pay-per-view and other discretionary television services. As a condition of the approval, Corus was required to sell off the 50% interest in The Family Channel that had been held by WIC Premium.
The radio stations involved were CHED-FM and CKNG-FM Edmonton, CKNW-AM and CFMI-FM Vancouver, CHQR-AM and CKIK-FM Calgary, CJOB-AM and CJKR-FM Winnipeg, CHML-AM and CJXY-FM Hamilton, and CFYI-AM and CILQ-FM Toronto.
The specialty services Corus acquired included Western Canada pay television services SuperChannel Ltd and MovieMax Ltd, and WIC-VC Ltd.'s pay-per-view service, plus a 40% ownership position in the Teletoon English and French specialty services.
On November 14th, in a move that would further diversify Corus's activities, the company completed the acquisition of Nelvana Ltd, a Canadian producer and distributor of children's programming and products. On November 24th, Corus was awarded licences for a number of new category 2 (discretionary) specialty channels, including Edge TV, RAI Canada, Parent TV, Pet TV. The Classical Channel and The Jazz Channel. Not all of them would get launched.
On February 8th, the CRTC approved a deal which gave Corus ownership of Belcand Mount Royal Holdings Inc., the parent company of Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc., which owned directly or indirectly six radio stations, five in Montréal, CKOO-FM (formerly CIEL-FM), CKOI-FM, CINF, CFQR-FM and CINW, and one in St-Jérôme, CIME-FM, as well as the French-language Category 2 (digital) specialty television service "Canal Habitat". The deal brought Corus's radio holdings to 49 stations in five provinces.
On November 16th, Corus added a controlling interest in the Telelatino Network, and ownership of the Women's Television Network (WTN) to its broadcast holdings.
Three days later, the CRTC approved Corus's application to acquire three radio stations in Cornwall, Ontario, through the purchase of Tri-Co Radio Ltd., owners of CJUL-AM, CFLG-FM and CJSS-FM.
On October 16th, Corus Entertainment and Shaw Communications Ltd. announced the introduction of Canada's first subscription-based Video-on-Demand service, Movie Central Express.
In June the company announced its intention to discontinue operating its rock and alternative music video specialty service Edge TV.
In November, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters awarded Corus President and CEO John Cassaday the CAB Gold Ribbon, in recognition of his services to Canadian broadcasting.
On June 28th, the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) announced that their Gold Medal Award for 2004 would go to Corus President and CEO John Cassaday.
On August 10th, the CRTC gave its consent to Corus selling their two stations in Red Deer, Alberta, CIZZ-FM and CKGY-FM, to Newcap Inc. (Newfoundland Capital Corporation Ltd).
Approval by the CRTC was received on July 6th for Corus to conclude a deal with CanWest MediaWorks whereby Corus would buy two radio stations, CJZZ-FM Winnipeg and CKBT-FM Kitchener.
On August 7th, Corus received approval from the CRTC to launch Cosmopolitan Television, a life-style specialty channel targeted at women 18-34.
As the year ended, the CRTC gave Corus permission on December 24th to acquire radio station CIGR-FM Sherbrooke from Groupe Génération Rock.
On September 1st, Corus reduced its radio station ownerships to 52 with the sale of CHRC-AM radio to a Quebec City corporation that owned the Hockey Club Les Remparts de Québec.
On September 18th, the CRTC approved two more specialty channel applications from Corus. These were for (a) YTV POW! which would "...offer programming from international markets featuring the latest trends in non-violent action, adventure, superheroes, comedy adventure and interactivity..", and (b) YTV OneWorld "....that would offer programming from around the world targeting children aged 6 to 17 and their families. The schedule would include programs devoted to entertainment, humour, travel, games and science and technology."
On April 30th, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that they had reached an agreement with Cogeco Inc. for Cogeco to purchase the Corus Quebec radio stations: CKOI-FM, CKAC-AM, CHMP-FM and CFQR-FM Montreal, CFOM-FM102.9 and CFEL-FM Quebec City, CJRC-FM Gatineau , CIME-FM St-Jérôme, CHLT-FM and CKOY-FM Sherbrooke, and CHLN-FM Trois Rivieres. The deal would be subject to CRTC approval.
Following public hearings on September 28 and 29 in Montreal, on December 17 the CRTC approved the transfer of these radio programming undertakings from Corus Entertainment Inc. to Cogeco inc.
In announcing this decision, the Commission said that it was implementing its new group-based licensing policy for large private English-language ownership groups. This policy was developed to prepare both the broadcasting industry and the Commission for the new reality of large, integrated broadcasting ownership groups. Under this policy, the Commission would reduce its focus on Canadian exhibition and concentrate to a greater extent on ensuring stable funding to Canadian production through programming expenditure requirements, particularly in regard to programming that continued to be under-represented in the Canadian broadcasting system. In addition, the Commission said it had also introduced a much greater level of flexibility in the manner in which television services would make and account for Canadian programming expenditures.
On November 9th, the CRTC announced a hearing in Calgary on February 7th 2012, at which it would hear an application by Corus Entertainment Inc., on behalf of its wholly owned subsidiary CKIK-FM Limited, to amend the broadcasting licence for the AM radio programming undertaking CHQR Calgary.
The licensee proposed to add an FM transmitter in Calgary to broadcast the programming of CHQR, "in order to adequately serve the population of Calgary".
The transmitter would operate on frequency 106.9 MHz (channel 295A) with an effective radiated power of 1,000 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 243.6 metres).
The applicant stated that the proposed FM transmitter would provide a reliable high-quality signal on the FM band to listeners in downtown Calgary who were no longer able to obtain satisfactory reception of CHQR on the AM band.
On February 14th Corus Entertainment Inc., on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, filed an application for a broadcasting licence to operate Harmony, a national, English-language specialty Category B service that would be devoted to romance, love and relationships. The programming would include series based on relationships, feature films, mini-series, made-for-television movies and occasional magazine-style shows focusing on this genre and its stars.
On May 24, the CRTC found that the additional FM presence that would result from approval of the application heard on November 9th 2011 to amend the licence for CHQR-AM by adding an FM transmitter in Calgary would undermine the Common Ownership Policy by adversely affecting competitive balance and diversity in this market. The Commission also found that the applicant had not provided sufficient justification to warrant the granting of its application on its own merits. Accordingly, the Commission denied the application.
On December 11th in Gatineau PQ, the CRTC called Corus to a public hearing to discuss concerns that the Corus-owned specialty channel OWN - The Opra Winfrey Network was not complying with the nature of service as defined by its condition of licence. Following a licence renewal hearing in 2011, OWN had been directed to either file a report detailing the measures it had taken to come into compliance or submit another proposal.
Corus had subsequently filed two applications on behalf of OWN, neither of which the Commission felt had been consistent with its directions. As a result, the Commission had not procesed the applications.
Consequently, the Commission had called Corus to a public hearing to discuss its apparent ongoing non-compliance in further detail. Corus was expected to show cause as to why:
On January 15th, Canadian Press reported that Corus chief executive John Cassaday had told analysts in the broadcaster's quarterly earnings call that, after the meeting with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission the previous month, Corus would create two more hours of educational programming for its OWN channel schedule.
The CRTC had still not announced its decision on the matter, and declined to comment.
On March 4th, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that it had entered into a number of agreements with Bell and separately with Shaw Media, which "...extended Corus' portfolio of Radio assets into Ottawa, consolidated Corus' ownership of ABC Spark and TELETOON, and enabled Corus to become a significant media contributor in the Québec and the French-language specialty television market".
Corus said it had reached an agreement with Bell to acquire the 50% remaining ownership interest in TELETOON and two Ottawa-based radio stations, CKQB-FM (The Bear 106.9) and CJOT-FM (boom 99.7), that Bell would acquire as part of the acquisition of Astral Media Inc (for which a new proposal was awaiting the approval of the CRTC, the original having been denied) . With these acquisitions, TELETOON, Télétoon (French), TELETOON Retro, Télétoon Rétro (French), Cartoon Network (Canada) and radio stations, CKQB-FM and CJOT-FM, would be wholly owned by Corus. In addition, Corus had reached an agreement with Bell and Shaw Media to acquire each of their respective 50% interests in the French-language specialty channels Historia and Séries+. Certain transactions were subject to approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The Competitions Bureau approved the deal on March 18th.
In a separate transaction, Corus announced that it had entered into an agreement with Shaw Media that would result in Corus acquiring the remaining 49% interest in the successful specialty television service ABC Spark from Shaw Media. As part of the agreement, Corus would sell its 20% interest in Food Network Canada to Shaw Media.
On March 15th the CRTC announced that it was denying Corus' applications to amend its broadcasting licence for the Oprah Winfrew network OWN, by amending the definition of the term "broadcast day" as it applied to its licence so as to mean the 24-hour period beginning each day at 6 a.m., as well as the application by OWN Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a national, English-language specialty Category B service to be known as OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
In denying the application to amend the broadcast day definition, the Commission said it "... does not consider it appropriate to approve an application for a licence amendment for which the objective appears to be to remedy a licensee's non-compliance."
Regarding the application for a Category B service, the Comission noted that, when questioned on its application at the hearing, Corus clarified that if the Commission determined that the two services would be competitive, it only sought a Category B licence for the OWN service if its Category A licence were revoked. The Commission considered that the specialty Category B service that OWN Inc. described in its application would likely be directly competitive with the Category A service that it currently operated.
In light of this, and given OWN's statement at the hearing that it only sought a Category B licence if its Category A licence were revoked, which was not the case, the Commission denied the application by OWN Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a national, English-language specialty Category B service to be known as OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
In summary, the Commission reiterated the importance it placed on a licensee's compliance with its conditions of licence and other regulatory requirements. The Commission viewed any non-compliance as a very serious matter. The Commission noted that it might consider recourse to additional measures, including suspension, non-renewal or revocation of the licence under sections 9 and 24 of the Act, should OWN Inc. again breach its nature of service definition or any of its other regulatory requirements.
Further, to ensure that the licensee would comply with its conditions of licence relating to its nature of service and with the Regulations, the Commission directed OWN Inc. to adhere to the monitoring and reporting framework set out elsewhere in the decision.
On July 17th 2013, Corus Entertainment announced a number of changes to its executive team "to more closely align the company's television and business divisions".
Current EVP and president of Corus Television Doug Murphy would become EVP and COO of Corus Entertainment on September 1, reporting directly to president and CEO John Cassaday.
Other executive leadership changes included:
Corus had earlier announced the appointment of Mario Cecchini as head of Eastern Ontario and president of Corus Media. Other appointments were also announced relating to the leadership of the companyâ€™s various business units, including:
On August 28th the CRTC announced that it would hold a hearing on November 5th 2013, at which the applications that Corus had announced on March 4th, to acquire various properties from Shaw Media and Bell Media, would be heard.
Updated by Pip Wedge - August, 2013