Rogers cancels First Local newscast

The newscast will be revamped to include more local community access programming.

Rogers Television has pulled the plug on its First Local news and information show to comply with the CRTC and air more local access programming.

First Local, a local news and information show that aired in some New Brunswick and Ontario markets, will be revamped to provide more local community access programming. The move follows the CRTC last August mandating more community-based programming from Rogers and other domestic cable operators.

Julie Henson, director of programming and creative services at Rogers TV, said Friday that cancelling the First Local newscasts will not produce any job or budget chops.

Instead, funding will follow a rejigged programming lineup as cable-backed community TV stations from Jan. 1 spend at least 35% of their series expenditures directly on local access programming, with that obligation climbing to 50% by 2014.

Last year’s CRTC policy shift on community TV programming was prompted in part by concerns that cable-backed local TV stations were airing too much network programming that was produced in one market and distributed to a host of other markets.

More community access programming from Rogers TV means local TV stations in 34 individual Rogers markets will still cover local events. But Rogers will also increase access to TV shows that were inspired by local people in an individual market.

From Playback Daily