This is mildly mind-boggling. It does suggest the question of whether Quebecor Media Inc. (QMI) wants to become Fox News North as the Toronto Star suggests.
A new, all-news network directed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief spokesman could soon be coming to Canadian living rooms.
Quebecor Media Inc., has filed an application for an English-language TV news network with the CRTC, the federal broadcast regulator.
The application comes in concert with Quebecor’s appointment of Kory Teneycke — Harper’s former communications director — as vice-president of development.
Teneycke, who left the Prime Minister’s Office less than a year ago, has been working on contract with Quebecor for months amid persistent reports of the development of a new, right-wing news channel modelled on the highly successful Fox News in the United States.
“The one thing that makes Ottawa such an interesting place is there’s a never-ending series of rumours being generated,” Teneycke said in an interview Wednesday.
“Some of which are true, some of which are false and some of which are partially true. We’ll provide clarity on all these matters in due course, but we really don’t have anything to say today.”
Teneycke has been given oversight of the QMI bureau in Ottawa, which covers parliamentary affairs for the Sun Media chain of newspapers. …
By hiring Teneycke, Quebecor and its president and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau are following the path of Fox News Channel, whose founding president Roger Ailes is a former communications adviser to Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. …
Sources familiar with the project say Quebecor has considered its own news channel for almost a year. Teneycke has pitched Peladeau on a concept that would be less traditional and more pugnacious and provocative than what’s currently being offered by CBC News Network and CTV’s Newsnet.
Mistake there by the Star. It’s actually CTV News Channel now (disclosure: I work for CTV News).
The interesting question is whether there’s enough angry conservatives to support such a channel and whether they feel their voice is being heard enough by existing broadcasters.
Carleton University’s Chris Waddell had this observation:
Waddell says the two current English-language news channels in Canada — CBCNN and CTV News Channel — only get about one per cent each of the TV viewing audience.
He went on to say that the Business News Network (a CTVglobemedia property) can make a go because it reaches a very targeted and desirable demographic for advertisers — investors and business people.
So we shall see if the market can support a new entrant.
There was some good stuff in a June 14 CP report by Bruce Cheadle:
On March 30, 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper sat down for lunch in New York with Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes.
The meeting was not on any public itinerary released by the Prime Minister’s Office and only came to light when The Canadian Press searched media consultant Ari Fleischer’s mandatory disclosures with the U.S. Justice Department.
Ailes is the longtime Republican communications guru who is the president of Fox News Channel, which is owned by Murdoch’s News Corp.
Harper’s soon-to-be-ex-communications director Kory Teneycke was also present.
Four months later, Teneycke had left the PMO — barely a year into his job as Harper’s chief spokesman — only to pick up a contract with Quebecor to explore a project that Ottawa insiders almost immediately described as a fledgling “Fox News North.” …
For the record, Teneycke said Monday the Quebecor venture was not discussed at Harper’s New York meeting with the Fox News leadership last spring.
Asked what was discussed, PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas responded by email that “the prime minister meets with a wide range of people from the business, cultural, telecommunication and other sectors when travelling or here at home.”
CTV News president Robert Hurst had this to say to the Globe and Mail:
The president of CTV News, Robert Hurst, said he believes there is room for more competition: “Come on in, the water’s fine,” he said. “The more Canadian voices, the better.”
CTV, which is owned by the same parent company as The Globe and Mail, also operates news channels CP24 and BNN. Mr. Hurst said CTV News Channel is also looking at ways of bringing more diversity of opinion to the airwaves.
“It’ll be an interesting project to see whether the appetite for right-wing news is the same in Canada … I would say the broadcast discussion in Canada is much more milquetoast than it is in the United States,” Mr. Hurst said.