Satellite Radio Crashes

Reports this morning indicate that the federal government is planning to overturn the CRTC' s satellite radio decision.  Canadian Heritage Minister Liza Frulla, with the frankness that has made her a cabinet liability, is quoted in the Globe as saying that "our mind is pretty much made up, but right now I am obligated to say it is among the three options."

The entire satellite radio process has become an embarrassment.  Like it or not, the CRTC held lengthy hearings on the matter and sought to develop a solution that added significant Canadian content to satellite radio offerings, albeit in a different form than on conventional radio. The plan most notably has the backing of independent Canadian artists, who stand to be big winners with more mandated exposure of their music than is heard on conventional radio.

The interests of artists don' t really matter here though as this issue will apparently be resolved by lobbying power. Lined up against the decision are the losing bid (CHUM/Astral), the Canadian Recording Industry Association (whose pie in the sky request for anti-copying technologies did not even merit a response from the CRTC), and most importantly, Quebec artists groups.  The approved services are set to run three French channels as against five English channels, which would be an over-emphasis of French based on Canadian demographics.  Nevertheless, the Quebec lobby wants more and with an election looming, what Quebec wants, it gets (particularly with Ms. Frulla' s re-election hopes on the ropes).

Left to support the interests of Canadian artists (along with consumers who are left with nothing) are the automakers.  Yes, American and Japanese automakers (along with Best Buy and Circuit City, a pair of U.S. electronics retailers) are the primary supporters of Canadian artists on this file. 

Ultimately, it appears that everyone loses: no Canadian-specific satellite radio services for months or even years, no economic bump for the auto and retail industry, no direct Canadian benefits with the growth of the grey satellite radio market, no genuine policy process, and no additional exposure for Canadian artists.  And come next winter, no more Ms. Frulla.

Update:  The Globe and Mail now reports that the auto industry and satellite providers have increased their lobbying pressure in response to the weekend reports. 


  1. Vote accordingly
    There we go, let’s make sure we stay in the dark age at little longer…Not that I am a big political activist, but I know who I won’t vote for in the next election.

  2. satellite radio
    A crock of liberal socialist bull*hit. I am tyred of jack***es on the the hill telling what is good for me. butt-out please Lisa Frulla.

  3. Quebec Pants and Hapily Wags the Rest of
    I’m so sick of the BS with Canadian and French content. It’s essentially a welfare system for Canadian and French Canadian artists who wouldn’t otherwise be successful. I’d love to see this service in Canada, and bringing it here would open up opportunities for Canadian artists. Too bad our sleazyball Liberal government fels the need to deprive Canadians of this service. My God, could people please elect a Conservative government next election.

  4. says:

    Still Pre Programmed
    I have no use for sattellite radio. They still choose the order of what songs I listen to. Just no ads.

    I prefer puretracks listen subscription and maybe someday etc

    I have half a million songs I can pick from and program my BEST listening experiance for the same price or cheaper per month as sattellite radio

  5. lose-lose situation
    As an American who was looking forward to getting more Canadian content on my Sirius receiver (As It Happens, DNTO, Sunday Edition, etc. are all carried already), I’m disappointed. But the stupidity is astounding. Any Canadian who wants Sirius or XM can have it now! The only thing the CRTC decision was going to do was force a certain level of Canadian content.

    If the CRTC decision is trashed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sirius dump the Canadian content they currently carry, and continue reaping the profits from grey market Canadian subscribers without the headache of worrying about CRTC oversight. (Or sharing those profits with the CBC).

  6. pervaze mohammed says:

    hi I was wondering how do you actually block a satellite radio broadcasting system?

  7. Frank Withyou says:

    Just curious…
    …if Mr Pervaze will use his soon to be ,newly found knowledge for Good???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    I think I’m scared now.
    To be Frank With you,all I want is my favorite Entertainment program..”Coat to Coast” Art,George and Friends .Silly isn’t?
    This is my first time in my 53 years of life ,that I’ve responded on-line to an Issue. first question is am I allowed to swear…?
    2nd is…is someone whatching pervaze yet?
    3rd bout now?..