Outgoing Chairman: “Canada Needs to Reinvent the CRTC”

Konrad von Finckenstein’s five-year term as the head of the CRTC ends this week.  On his way out the door, he’s offering some unvarnished opinions about where the Canadian regulator of broadcasters needs to go.  Think of it as a warning to his still-unappointed successor.

A quote from the Globe and Mail:

“We have now moved into an era where the consumer is in control, and where thanks to the Internet and mobile devices, you cannot control access any more.”

Traditional media under the CRTC’s purview–radio, TV, telecommunications–no longer govern as cultural and technological gatekeepers.  The Internet has changed all that.  

Although the CRTC will no doubt continue to operate as a culture watchdog, there’s increasing urgency for it to deal with some very pressing issues:

 

  • Canadian content
  • Foreign ownership limits
  • Subsidies for creating local content
  • Fees and levies paid by traditional broadcasters that new media outlets don’t have to pay
  • New technologies threatening to further erode the role of radio, network TV and cable providers
  • The future of the CBC
  • The role of ISPs in the broadcast ecosystem

 

This are all hugely complex issues, fraught with politics, lobbyists and special interest groups.  None of this stuff is going to solve itself quietly.

And keep this in mind:  regulators regulate.  That’s what they do.  Good luck to whoever inheirits this giant pile of woe.

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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