Show them the money!!

CBC seeks another $75 million to reinstate regional programming
OTTAWA (CP) – A quartet of CBC executives is scheduled to appear before the Commons heritage committee Thursday morning where a recent request for millions of dollars in extra government funding to reinstate regional and local programming is expected to surface. Such programming has been scaled back over the past decade because of a series of Ottawa-imposed budget cuts.
Under the plan, already submitted to Heritage Minister Lisa Frulla for review, the public broadcaster is requesting $25 million in special operating funding for the first year, ramping up to some $75 million by year 3.
“CBC operates in tough financial circumstances so I’m sure it will be a subject of discussion,” Jason MacDonald, CBC spokesman, said Wednesday.
Attending the hearing will be the new vice-president for English-language television, Richard Stursberg , and his counterparts for French-language TV and the English and French radio services.
The request comes after the CBC has endured widespread criticism for reducing supper-hour programming in its various regional markets, which in turn has led to a loss of hundreds of thousands of regular viewers.
The heritage committee has argued that the CBC must ensure that levels of local programming outside of Montreal and Toronto are delivered.
“A CBC that pays attention to its Broadcasting Act mandate to serve the special needs of Canada’s regions would balance network with grassroots radio and TV programs,” Ian Morrison, spokesman for the advocacy group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, said in a letter this week to the CBC.
“That’s the challenge we hope the CBC will address.”
In a committee hearing last November, CBC president Robert Rabinovitch noted that the network’s parliamentary appropriation is $415 million less than it was in 1990. When asked if the cuts to local and regional programming were a mistake, he replied that the CBC had to live within its reduced budget.
The CBC receives base funding of nearly $900 million a year from the federal government, which has topped up the budget by an additional $60 million for each of the last four years (minus a $10-million reallocation in recent supplementary estimates). And while the CBC has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues from other sources, including advertising and programming and property sales, it has also lost an estimated $20 million due to this season’s NHL lockout and incurred less than anticipated revenue from the Summer Olympics.