Corus proposes new ‘hyper-local’ news channel

The broadcaster has applied for a licence with the CRTC to launch a regional channel in Western Canada airing news, weather and other info in a similar fashion to CP24.

Corus Entertainment is proposing to launch what it describes as a ‘hyper-local’ news channel serving communities in Western Canada.

The would-be service, tentatively called Local1, has applied for a regional Category 2 licence with the CRTC. It plans to air news, weather and other information on a multi-zoned screen similar to that of CP24 in Toronto – complete with news ticker, sports scores and traffic cams.

Corus plans to serve communities from Victoria as far east as Winnipeg. Prince George, BC; Canmore, AB; and Moose Jaw, SK are also among the 64 cities and towns on the list, though it remains unclear to what extent the channel will be able to cover so many communities over such a wide area.

A spokesperson for Corus had no comment. The official proposal was put forth by the corporate offshoot Corus Audio & Advertising Services.

Corus, through the, is calling on the public to write CRTC secretary general Robert Morin and voice support for the channel.

In language that recalls the still-lingering campaign in defense of local television, the site notes that, ‘some broadcasters are reducing or cancelling local TV programming in many Canadian markets. We think it’s the wrong choice…The heart of the proposed service will be community-specific weather information, forecasts, news feeds, environmental features and road reports.’

The commission will hear the proposal on April 4. Comments are due by March 15. Local1′s planned programming would cover such categories as news, analysis and interpretation, general entertainment and human interest

A supplementary brief submitted to the CRTC also states that, at launch, Local1 will be available to approximately 85% of Shaw’s digital customers. The brief also says its business plan expects to launch on ‘ten larger Shaw systems in western Canada within six months of approval – Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.’

Corus and Shaw Communications are both controlled by the Shaw family, though they operate independently.

In other CRTC news, former CHUM boss Jay Switzer has resurfaced, and has put his name on four proposed channels, also to be considered alongside Local1. The would-be Category 2 services – Velocity, Adventure, Kiss and The Love Channel – would cover a range of drama and romance genres.

From Playback Daily