CRTC approves Rogers’ TV buy

Canadian regulator greenlights purchase

Canuck broadcast regulator CRTC Friday greenlit Toronto-based broadcaster Rogers Media’s purchase of the five City-tv stations from CTVglobemedia.

The acquisition of the City-tv stations — located in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary — turns Rogers, previously a minor TV broadcaster, into one of the country’s leading TV players. Rogers Communications, the parent company, also owns the country’s top cable operator.

Rogers bought them for C$375 million ($374 million) from CTVglobemedia, which was forced to sell the stations — the jewel in the Chum crown — in markets where it. The Canadian Radio and Television Commission doesn’t allow companies to own two stations in the same market.

On Friday, the CRTC told Rogers to sell its two religious TV stations — CHNU in Fraser Valley, B.C., and CIIT in Winnipeg — in the next 12 months for the same reason.The CRTC has also ordered Rogers to fulfill by Aug. 31, 2011, all the outstanding benefits payments left by previous City-tv owner Chum. Rogers said it will direct these payments to a number of Canadian industry initiatives, including the Allan Waters Canadian Content Initiative. Broadcasters are forced to make benefits payments to industry initiatives as part of their license requirements.

Rogers said it is committed to maintaining independent news departments at its City-tv and the Omni stations, which it already owned.

Leslie Sole — CEO of television for Rogers Media — will take responsibility for the City-tv channels.

“This is a very exciting time for the television broadcasting group at Rogers,” Sole said. “Rogers also recently applied to the CRTC for approval of its acquisition of the Vancouver/Victoria multicultural station Channel M.”

Also Friday, the CRTC announced that it approved Montreal-based radio and TV broadcaster Astral Media’s acquisition of the 53 radio stations and two TV stations owned by Standard Radio.

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