The question they asked was “Will you help save local TV?” and the public said, “Sounds good, sure, that’s a no brainer, where do I sign?”

They ought to be ashamed for not asking the real question.  The real question is, “Will you pay more for cable or satellite to enrich Bell Global and Rogers?” Let me explain.

CTV is owned by Bell Global. So is Bell ExpressVu.  CTV is asking the government to force cable companies and satellite companies to pay money to local TV stations for carrying them. They’re not quite as clear about the flow of money as they should be.  The cable and sat outfits simply pass along those costs to viewers after they mark them up.

Their proposal would have the money flowing not to the TV stations but to the parent company of Bell Global.  Local TV stations have significantly cut the amount of local programming they’re producing. They only produce a smattering of the day’s programming locally. Contrast that to even a few years ago when most stations had a morning show of at least an hour, a noon show, at least an hour at the dinner hour and a half hour after the national news. The people who own the stations have systematically shunned their local programming. Now they’re pleading for support with a well-managed PR campaign and very few commentators pointing out the disingenuous nature of their claims.

Local programming committments have been been cut back at the request of the stations themselves. And, the money will simply flow from consumers in the form of higher cable or satellite bills with the cash pouring into the coffers of Bell Global.

If you have any doubts about Bell’s duplicity, they charge you an extra $3 or so on your phone bill every month for “Touch-Tone” service.  It is cheaper for the phone company to provide Touch Tone than the old rotary dial service. But they managed to convince the start-struck majority on the CRTC to give them unwarranted additional billions over the years from phone users in Ontario and Quebec.

If you really want to support local TV, dump your cable and satellite feeds, put up an antenna and watch local TV for free.

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