Are There Plans Afoot to Change Canadian Media Ownership Rules?

In case you didn’t know, there are hard and fast rules about how many radio stations a company can own in a given market.  In large cities like Toronto and Vancouver, no one company can have more than two FM and two AM stations.  In smaller cities, it’s verboten to have more than three stations (a combination of AMs and FMs).

Compare that to the US where there are pretty much zero ownership rules, a situation that has resulted in one company owning five, six, seven or even eight radio stations in a given market.  Most people say this is a bad idea because although it may lead to business synergies, it has ground down competition and the quality of commercial radio.

It’s also illegal to breach certain levels of foreign ownership in Canada.  It’s thought that since the airwaves are public property in Canada that broadcast licenses should be owned (and least in a majority sense) by Canadians.

However, according to FYI Music News, there’s some heavy pressure being applied to the CRTC to revisit our ownership rules.  The thinking is “Hey, if Canadian companies can own foreign media companies, why can’t foreign companies own Canadian media companies?”

And it’s not just about radio.  It’s about telecom companies (read: cell phone providers), TV, newspapers and more.  We’ll see.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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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