About three months ago, CTV Regina was part of a CTV campaign (CTV) urging the public to write into the CRTC to force cable companies to implement carriage fees. In the end, it would mean that your cable bill would probably rise by about $10 a month, because the cost of carriage fees -- the charge the networks would charge the cable companies to carry the stations would be passed to the consumer, you and me. Of course, CTV and Global don't see it that way. Carriage fees have to be implemented in order to save local TV. So they say.
Well, what's the state of local TV now? How much can local TV stations respond to local events? Let's take the recent tornado strikes north of Toronto as an example.
In the midst of a horrific local storm, with Tornadoes touching down all over the city, local TV failed in the most profound way possible to inform its citizens. If you ask "what am I paying for?" then based on yesterday, the clear answer is nothing. Nothing at all.
Or The Legion of Decency, a blogger who lives in the middle of what became Tornado Alley …
In the centralized model of Canadian local TV I'd predicted months ago but never thought might ever personally affect me, the two million people who live just beyond the Greater Toronto Area had no television service addressing the imminent threat they all faced.
Instead, I was treated to the same pre-packaged news segments, the same smiling meat puppets and the same banal "Sparky, what the heck's happened to my Blue Jays?" banter.
By now, the weather site on my computer was giving me moving satellite maps and Doppler radar showing the second, much larger wall of storms approaching fast and a couple of my friends were Tweeting blocked roads and that the Twister in Newmarket had hit a children's riding competition at the Canadian Equestrian Centre.
However dedicated local TV reporters are (and they are), whatever they say and do doesn't matter. The local newsroom – and the local station – isn't calling the shots any more. The local stations are nothing but money makers for the conglomerates who own them, and the carriage fees that will soon be added to your cable bill are more of a revenue stream to head office than an economic lifeline to people who actually serve your community.
Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass' shop was responsible for the bizarro stop-motion animated series The New Adventures Of Pinocchio, based on Carlo Collodi's famous fictional puppet. I used to watch it all the time as a kid--if I remember it was on right after another weird Rankin/Bass show, Tales Of The Wizard Of Oz.
But that's a cartoon for another day. Here's a yootubed clip from the New Adventures Of Pinocchio:
Zachary Zombie, by the way, was voiced by Canadian actor Paul Kligman who was also the voice of J. Jonah Jameson in the classic '60s Spider-Man cartoon. Kligman apparently went to college in Winnipeg, the city all cartoon newspapermen come from.
Anyway, In addition to ghouls and witches the show also had scary invisible ogres, leprechauns, talking trains and a friendly Loch Ness Monster. Here's another clip, with Rankin/Bass spins on several of the characters from the book including Geppetto, Cricket, and Cat and Fox.