November 30, 2016 7 months 9 hours ago

UPDATED: Shaw to close CJBN-TV

KENORA and GATINEAU – Shaw Communications has filed a letter with the CRTC this month letting the Commission know it has withdrawn its application to renew the broadcast license of CJBN-TV Kenora, its local TV station serving the northwestern Ontario community, and that it plans to shutter the station.

A Global Television affiliate which airs a schedule pretty close to Global TV’s Winnipeg station, CJBN also offers some local programming including a half hour show called Good Morning Sunset Country and another called Fishing with Gussy.

CJBN, which serves the 15,000 people of Kenora and some of the surrounding region, was an asset that remained with Shaw when it sold the rest of its TV portfolio to Corus earlier this year. Shaw came to own the station when it purchased local cableco Norcom Communications in 2006, which owned and operated CJBN.

“Shaw is in the process of notifying affected parties of our intention to close CJBN. At the appropriate time, Shaw will file a letter to request the revocation of the broadcasting licence for CJBN,” reads the November 17th letter to the CRTC from Shaw VP of regulatory affairs Dean Shaikh.

The station has not been profitable for some time as the ad market in Kenora and area is quite small, and has been relying on the Small Market Local Programming Fund to stay afloat. The station received $313,400 from that fund in the 2015 broadcast year (the last data available on the CRTC web site). That fund is being replaced by the new Independent Local News Fund in 2017. It is also still an analog station and did not make the transition to high definition.

UPDATE: In an emailed statement to Cartt.ca, a Shaw VP communications and public relations Chethan Lakshman outlined the reasons for the closure.

"Following an extensive review of our programming operations in Kenora, Ontario, we have made the decision to close CJBN due to duplication of service. The station’s two originally produced programs will air on Shaw TV moving forward. In addition, the community of Kenora will continue to have access to locally driven programming on Shaw TV. All Global-affiliated programming that airs on CJBN can continue to be accessed through Global Winnipeg.

"We notified employees of the change earlier this month. Three positions have been affected by the station closure. The station is set to close on January 27, 2017.”