OMNI-TVRogers Media announced on June 5, 2017 that it will be expanding its news program, CityNews, in Edmonton this September and in Calgary by the winter of 2018. It’s part of a wider expansion that will also see local versions of the program air in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal. The one-hour newscasts will broadcast seven days a week with CityNews at Six at 6 p.m. and CityNews Tonight at 11 p.m.

Newscasts in Edmonton and Winnipeg will debut Monday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. local time.

CityNews’s fresh and innovative approach to news reporting resonates strongly with younger viewers, with CityNews at Six – which we revitalized over the last 18 months – now ranking number one in Toronto among the coveted 18 to 34 adult demo*,” said Dave Budge, Vice President, News and Information, Television, Rogers Media. “It’s a winning format that connects with today’s viewer, and we’re excited to bring the same authentic local approach to new audiences.

Debuting in Toronto in 1975, the multi-award winning CityNews has been globally recognized as a trailblazer for news innovation, earning accolades for its local coverage including the esteemed RTDNA National Bert Cannings Award for Best TV Newscast in a Large Market in 2016. Late last month, CityNews reporter Cynthia Mulligan won the national RTDNA Adrienne Clarkson Award for Diversity in Reporting for her in-depth series on Danica Rain – a transgender Ontario woman who underwent gender reassignment surgery at a clinic in Bangkok.

Staying true to the hard-hitting journalism that CityNews is known for, the content will focus on viewer-driven, original stories introduced by local reporters,” added Budge.

Adding regional and national perspectives, complementary stories from Rogers Media’s sister brands such as Maclean’s, Breakfast Television, and Sportsnet will also be featured in the broadcasts. Viewers will also see news content delivered across all platforms, with each CityNews team engaging with audiences through their respective local websites and social media channels.

Rogers Media’s sister brands, including Maclean’s, Breakfast Television and Sportsnet, will also be featured in the broadcasts.

Rogers will announce details on new on-air talent in coming months.

In addition, Rogers applied to the CRTC this past June to establish OMNI Regional, a new national multilingual channel to replace the local news programming at the OMNI stations that they cancelled in 2010. They proposed a nationwide channel with four regional feeds, including a dedicated feed for Quebec, that would serve 20 different ethnic groups and 20 different languages.

In their CRTC application hearing, Rogers argued the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society is not currently reflected in the basic services offered and thus requested the CRTC grant the channel status for mandatory carriage. To support the service, Rogers proposed TV providers pay a wholesale rate of 12 cents for each subscriber per month.

Brace told the commission that if denied mandatory carriage, the media co will continue to eat the cost of running its five over-the-air OMNI television channels, despite a 74% decline in advertising revenues since 2010. He said the channels offer a service the company’s founder, Ted Rogers, fundamentally believed in.

Brace said that if its application was accepted, OMNI Regional would invest any profits earned back into programming aired on OMNI and operate as a not-for-profit. OMNI Regional would operate in tandem with its five existing over-the-air television licences, it said.

Rogers argued the non-profit model was the only way it could provide high-quality national and locally relevant content, as it said the commercial model is no longer sufficient. The company also noted it will file an $8.3 million loss on OMNI this year.

On May 15, 2017, the CRTC approved Rogers application and determined that all basic TV packages must include national, multilingual OMNI newscasts for the next three years, a decision that will bring millions to Rogers Communications Inc. to revive the multicultural service it axed two years ago — at least temporarily.

OMNI Regional will produce four daily, national, 30-minute newscasts in Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi.

Rogers will get 12 cents per subscriber per month – about $15 million given the approximately 11 million TV subscribers in Canada – to produce the programs that were canned due to financial struggles, much to the dismay of multiple communities. The special status indicates there’s an “extraordinary need” for the service, which enables people to access news and information in their languages, according to the CRTC.

But the CRTC  granted Rogers the licence for only three years instead of the typical five due to deficiencies in Rogers’ application, including that the service isn’t a sufficient reflection of Canada’s third-language communities and that its finances don’t seem sustainable even with mandatory distribution. Both ethnic and English broadcasters took issue with Rogers’ application, arguing it didn’t meet the definition of mandatory distribution.

Yet the CRTC determined there is an immediate need for Canada’s ethnically diverse communities to have access to made-in-Canada multilingual programming without having to pay for additional packages.

If Rogers wants to keep the mandatory carriage, it will have to compete for it. The CRTC issued an open call for applications from any party that wishes to operate a national, multi-ethnic television service. It expects Rogers will apply by the August deadline.

Canada’s ethnic and third-language communities do not have access to enough news and information programming in multiple languages from a Canadian perspective. By approving the licensing and mandatory distribution of OMNI Regional, we are addressing a pressing need,” CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a statement. However, our standards for nationwide mandatory distribution are high. Rogers will have to remedy the shortcomings of their OMNI service and compete with other applicants to have the privilege of reaching Canadians across the country.”

The CRTC also announced that it renewed the licences for the large French- and English-language television groups Rogers, Bell, Corus, Group TVA and Groupe V for five-years effective September.

As a condition of the licences, they must implement a new local TV framework that will see them spend more on local news.

The conditions are largely the same as the last round of licence renewals, although the CRTC introduced credits as incentives for indigenous producers and other under-represented groups to create programming.

We applaud the CRTC for recognizing the vital importance of delivering news and information to Canadians in their language of comfort,” Rogers Media senior vice-president of broadcast Colette Watson said in a statement.  “Canadians will get access to quality multicultural and multilingual programming no matter where they live, and OMNI Television will receive a stable revenue source to build a strong voice for all ethnic audiences.