From a media release:
OMNI Television announced today that it has filed an application with the CRTC to operate a new national multilingual and multicultural channel called OMNI Regional, the first of its kind in Canada. The national channel would be comprised of four feeds: Pacific, Prairies, and East, which would mirror OMNI’s local stations in those regions, and ICI Quebec, made possible due to a strategic partnership with Montreal ethnic television station International Channel/Canal International (ICI) to serve French-language ethnic communities in the province of Quebec. If approved by the CRTC, OMNI Regional would have priority access to basic TV packages (pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act). Today’s local OMNI stations in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver would continue to operate as free over-the-air channels, as would ICI’s local station in Montreal.
As part of its proposal, OMNI Television is committing to bringing back four daily newscasts in Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi, making it the only national ethnic programming service in Canada to provide daily newscasts, seven days a week, in multiple languages.
OMNI Television’s proposal also includes the following:
- A commitment to devote 80% of OMNI Regional’s schedule to ethnic programming – a 20% increase over current – and maintaining the requirement to devote 50% of the schedule to third-language programming;
- A commitment to devote a minimum of 40% of OMNI Regional’s annual revenues to the production of Canadian programming;
- A commitment to maintain local daily current affairs shows in Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi languages;
- The creation of a national cultural affairs series produced in Alberta that is designed to showcase important cultural and social contributions from Canada’s ethnocultural communities;
- A commitment to re-establish in-house production in all of the markets served by OMNI’s OTA stations; and
- The creation of four regional feeds that comprise the national network will be specifically tailored to ethnic Canadians living in B.C., the Prairies, Eastern Canada and Quebec by including English and French-language ethnic programming as well as third-language programming produced by local independent producers that reside in those regions.
OMNI Television expects the CRTC to post its application for public comment shortly.