Two Toronto area stations will get to extend their broadcast reach to London and Ottawa. Viewers in those markets will soon be able to watch OMNI.2 and CTS over-the-air without cable or satellite.
On December 17th, the CRTC approved an OMNI.2 (CJMT) repeater station on channel 20 in London with 18.8 kW, and a CTS (CITS) repeater on channel 14, also in London with 7.7 kW. In Ottawa, OMNI.2 will be seen on channel 14 with 435 kW and CTS on channel 32 with 54 kW.
OMNI.2’s expansion will allow it the to cover the same territory as its sister station, OMNI.1, which already broadcasts in London and Ottawa. This will also ensure that viewers in those markets will not be deprived of Asian and African programming that had been moved from CFMT-TV (OMNI.1) to the newly created CJMT-TV (OMNI.2) in September 2002.
The CRTC received 154 letters and 41 interventions, in support of the OMNI application, which came from viewers, program producers and multicultural organizations. The letters generally expressed support for OMNI.2’s programming, its support of independent producers and considered that approving the applications would give viewers in Ottawa and London a greater choice of multicultural programming.
Regarding the CTS application, there were 107 interventions in support along with 1,319 letters of support, many of which argued that approving the applications would expand the range and quality of programming available to viewers in the two markets.
There were only a few interventions against the applications. CPAC was concerned that a realignment of the cable grid in Ottawa would likely cause CPAC to move to channel 65 or higher. Note that Omni.2 and CTS now have legal priority to lower cable number positions in Ottawa as local services. Vision TV was concerned that CTS’s expansion would allow it act more like a specialty service in competition with Vision. A citizen also filed an intervention on the grounds that OMNI.2’s proposal to use channel 20 in London would make it more difficult for residents in rural areas to receive clear over-the-air signals.
But in the end, the CRTC wasn’t convinced that any negative impact outweighed the benefits and the licenses were approved.
Rogers’ OMNI.2 currently broadcasts on Channel 44 in Toronto while Cornerstone TV’s CTS broadcasts on Channel 36 in Burlington.