CBC TV turns its back on Saint John

The CBC has decided that Saint John no longer deserves terrestrial (over-the-air, or ‘rabbit ears’) TV coverage. In its application to the CRTC for digital television, the CBC is proposing that it abandon Saint John altogether. (Link to Wire Report article here.)  This means that starting in the summer of 2011, Saint Johners will no longer be able to watch CBC TV unless they subcribe to a cable or satellite provider.

What’s unexplained in the application is why Fredericton will continue to get terrestrial CBC TV coverage, even though its population is only half that of Saint John. Given the income demographics in Saint John, I would expect that the need for terrestrial TV is far greater in Saint John than in Fredericton, regardless of population. (More homes in Saint John are challenged to afford the $50+ per month of a TV subscription.)

I find it offensive that the CBC has decided to ignore one of the most densely populated areas in the province and has chosen to rob many Saint Johners of a service that we all pay for through our tax dollars.

The CRTC is looking for input from stakeholders and the public. The deadline is February 17th. (Link here.) If you care about this issue — either because you watch CBC, you use it to reach others, or you simply care about those in our community that can’t afford subscription TV — make yourself heard.  Make a submission to the CRTC on this issue. You should let the CBC know what you think too: contact page.

UPDATE: It looks like the proposed digital footprint will also cover Oromocto, which combined with Fredericton roughly matches the population of Greater Saint John. That takes some of the sting out, but it still doesn’t explain why the Fredericton area gets to keep its terrestrial while Saint John loses out.

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