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CRTC Nixes Christian Radio Proposals, Supports Porn TV

LifeSiteNews.com

By Kathleen Gilbert

OTTAWA, September 5, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which recently made the news with its enthusiastic endorsement of "home-grown" Canadian porn TV, has rejected two applications for Christian radio stations in the Ottawa area and has left Christians frustrated at a process seemingly stacked against religious programming, according to OttawaCitizen.com.

In a recent CRTC hearing, Ottawa’s Christian Hit Radio Inc. (CHRI) petitioned for one of two open slots on the FM dial, with 780 letters of support for a station playing traditional Christian music and classical music aimed at older Christian audiences.  This would have supplemented the only religious music station on the air in the Ottawa area, 99.1FM CHRI, which plays only modern Christian music targeting younger audiences.  The second Christian radio option was a French-language Christian station, proposed by Gatineau resident Fiston Kalambay Mutombo.

But both proposals were shot down, with one slot going to a soft adult music station that had only 77 letters of support, and the other to a blues station.  Robert Du Broy told Ottawa Citizen that he doesn’t know why Ottawa needs two more secular stations, considering that American cities the size of Ottawa have at least four Christian stations.  Between 30,000 and 40,000 people in Ottawa, Pembroke and Cornwall currently tune in to 99.1FM CHRI.

CRTC’s consistently severe attitude towards religious programming frustrates Ottawa natives, some of whom are calling foul on the organization, which has given freehanded approval to TV pornography.  But according to Robert Du Broy, CHRI co-founder and vice-president, the main difficulty his radio proposal faced was the CRTC’s insistence for "balance" of religious programming. 

According to OttawaCitizen.com, the CRTC would not respond to requests for comments on the issue; last year, however, a CRTC spokesman said that such "single-faith" stations are unlikely to be "balanced" - with the result that religious programming is disadvantaged when vying for broadcast license, and even once on the air, Christian radio talk show hosts must not to speak too much about faith issues for fear of upsetting the "balance" and inviting censorship. 

In 1993, after the CRTC decided to loosen some regulations having to do with faith-based broadcasting, a number of commissioners expressed their disagreement with the decision.

"We are disturbed by the extent of social, cultural, and racial intolerance which is often rooted in religious intolerance," said the dissenting commissioners. "One need only look to Bosnia, the Middle East, India, Northern Ireland, South Africa and other world ‘trouble spots’ to observe this phenomenon in its most violent form. Such cultural and racial intolerance is less dramatic and violent, but no less real, in Canada."

On the other hand, when the CRTC approved the pornography channel Northern Peaks last month, the Citizen reported that they defended the choice by insisting that they do not take a moral perspective on the programming contents in review.  The CRTC allowed the program on the basis that 50 percent of its content be produced in Canada, effectively sponsoring a Canadian pornography industry.

The CRTC’s approval of Northern Peaks was met with disdain from citizens who saw a double-standard at work, and lamented the marginalization of religious values.  Ottawa listener David MacDonald, who used to have his own Christian radio program, told the Citizen: "It’s really getting tough to be a Christian in a country that was founded on Christian values.  On Normandy Beach, what you see is a big cross ... you don’t see a big dildo." 

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