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Canadian Association of Broadcasters Revived

OTTAWA, ONTARIO: After announcing plans to fold last June, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters has found a creative way to keep going--albeit in a much reduced form. The organization planned to disband due to irreconcilable differences between its cable, satellite and broadcast TV members

“The CAB hired Fern Bélisle, the former vice-chair, broadcasting at the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, to review our operations and give us some suggestions on how to wind down,” said current Sylvie Courtemanche; CAB chair and vice president of government relations at the Canadian radio group, Corus Entertainment.

“In the context of his review, it became apparent to him that there were areas where broadcasters were in complete agreement on issues,” Courtemanche said. These issues include copyright and copyright reform, administration of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, and distribution of programming funds such as FACTOR/Musicaction.

In order to avert future conflicts, the CAB is now avoiding any thorny topics that could divide its members. Of these, “the areas that caused the greatest conflicts were the regulatory submissions with the CRTC,” Courtemanche said. “The new mandate of the CAB is that we will not be representing our members on policy issues involving the CRTC.”

Meanwhile, to cut costs, and remain in line with its reduced mandate, the CAB cut its staff. When it needs assistance, it will hire consultants, Courtemanche said. The four board members also contribute. Elected last June, the board includes Golden West CEO Elmer Hildebrand, who tried to put together a radio-only version of the CAB when the association appeared doomed.

Despite its reduced mandate, the CAB is once again making itself known to Canadians, primarily through a radio campaign supporting Bill C-32, the Canadian Copyright Modernization, which is as of mid-March was still being debated in Parliament.

Among its provisions, Bill C-32 would eliminate any royalties payments or fees for temporary digital copies of music that are created as part of “technological processes” at a broadcast station, such as when a file is transferred from an archive to an automation system. -- from Radio World