By Ashleigh Mattern
The on-air launch of Saskatoon's first dedicated CBC radio morning show has been indefinitely delayed pending regulatory approval from the CRTC.
CBC spokesman Angus McKinnon confirmed to J-Source that CBC had in only finalized and sent in their application to broadcast from Saskatoon on Friday - just three days before the launch date of the new service.
That the public broadcaster did not have the regulatory licence in place to go to air came as a "complete surprise" to CBC Saskatchewan managing director John Agnew. He says licencing is handled by the regulatory affairs branch of CBC, which is separate from the CBC Saskatchewan programming office, and he only found out on April 23 that the licence was not in place. “To be blunt, somewhere along the line, something fell off the rails.”
Related content on J-Source:
- Saskatoon gets its first local CBC radio morning show
- CBC Kitchener Waterloo Morning Edition goes off air pending CRTC approval
CBC Saskatchewan has a licence to rebroadcast content in Saskatoon from their offices in Regina, but they needed to apply for a separate licence to broadcast original content from Saskatoon, said a CRTC representative, adding that CRTC had not yet recieved the application.
The morning show will still start on Monday but only online. Saskatoon Morning will be available through its webpage as a live stream, along with the online portion of the show originally planned. CBC Saskatchewan has a licence to rebroadcast content in Saskatoon from their offices in Regina, but Agnew says they needed to apply for or amend their licence to change the point of origin for the original content coming out of Saskatoon.
The delay of Saskatoon Morning comes shortly after CBC Radio took its Kitchener-Waterloo morning show off air due to a similar licencing oversight, but Agnew says there is no connection between the two issues.
“It's a hugely unfortunate coincidence,” he said.
At the moment, CBC Saskatchewan doesn't know when the show will get approval to play over the air; Agnew says the application for a licence is open-ended, and they're not told how long it will take for the CRTC to get back to them.
An open house at the new CBC offices in downtown Saskatoon that was originally planned to coincide with the launch of the show on April 29 has also been delayed.