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Monday, November 16, 2009

Let's Give Konrad a Hand

I'll admit it: I'm not always a big fan of the CRTC.

As an outsider looking in, I'm often left cold by the attitudes and rituals involved as people line themselves up in front of the commission.

Let alone the actual back and forth (and eye-rolling, and blustering, and...) that often occurs.

That said, I think today went a small way toward lighting the fire back into my jaded lil' Canadian heart.

In his opening speech, Konrad Von Finckenstein (the Chairman of the CRTC) said this:

"This hearing is about the future – a future where the old distinctions between over-the-air and discretionary television services will be irrelevant to most Canadians. It is about ensuring that Canadians continue to receive high-quality Canadian programming regardless of where they live or how they receive their television programming. It is also about ensuring that Canadian broadcasters and distributors have the flexibility to respond to changing audience demands, revenue opportunities and new paradigm-changing technologies, while using the most effective platforms.

This hearing is not about the past. It is not about enshrining or protecting old business models. And it is not about taxing consumers."

I want to give kudos to him for at least setting the bar.

Unfortunately, well, the presenters today at the CRTC hearing (aka 'Fee For Carriage Round 3') didn't quite get the memo.

And the Chairman was having none of it.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the day's events (and the twitters that followed):

"I'd rather deal with the Rogers I know than the one I encountered today, think about it" - Konrad Von Finckenstein (Chairman of the CRTC)

"My bedtime reading is the Broadcasting Act" - CRTC Commissioner Suzanne Lamarre (*I tend to use it as a sleep-aid, myself*)

"I don't understand why you don't realize it's in your long-term interest to come to an agreement" - Konrad Von Finckenstein to Rogers presenters

"Why is it anytime some1 says, "I'm not trying to avoid the question," the very next thing out of their mouths is attempt to avoid Q?" - @heywriterboy

"@DecencyLegion: Isn't this interesting. Nobody in Canada can figure out how to make money and USA net spins off a new channel http://j.mp/nJ8EU" - @DecencyLegion

And quite possibly the... well... the most honest exchange I've ever heard at a CRTC meeting:

"Why is this so difficult?" - Konrad Von Finckenstein
"We don't have our hand out. They do." - Rogers


Annnd one more:
"You're making this sound like a religious crusade" - Konrad Von Finckenstein to some nigh-evangelical Rogers Execs.

In closing... I'm not sure I've processed everything just yet... but I gotta give solid props to Chairman Von Finckenstein, who was definitely in fine 'Grow-the-F*ck-up' form today.

Hopefully we'll have more of this whole 'cut through the b.s.' attitude... 'cause I - as, you know, a tax-paying Canadian citizen - think it's about damn time.


P.S: The Star has a summary of the day's events here.

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