Erasmo Lionetti thinks the Italian culture in Canada is under attack. That’s why the marketing manager with RAI Internationala branch of Italy’s state broadcasteris fighting to get RAI its own channel over here. “RAI links Italians living abroad to their home,” says Lionetti, who’s looking after the bid to the CRTC for a digital channel.
There appears to be no shortage of support. More than 100,000 Italian-Canadians signed a petition supporting RAI (which broadcasts in 238 countries), and Rogers Cable (which, like Maclean’s, is owned by Rogers Communications) is sponsoring the bid. Problem is, the CRTC forbids foreign-owned broadcasters from entering the market when a domestic broadcaster already provides similar content. And Telelatino Network has long been on the scene.
a ‘All of a sudden we’re not worthy in year 20 after being worthy and wellreceived for 19 years.’ —president of Telelatino
For nearly 20 years, Telelatino had been purchasing over 90 per cent of its prime-time programming from RAI. But the partnership ended last August, with RAI citing displeasure over how Telelatino edited RAI programs. “All of sudden we’re not worthy in year 20 after being worthy and well-received for 19 years,” says Telelatino president Aldo Di Felice. “They’re effectively saying we’d like to do it ourselves.” As of last week, the CRTC was still reviewing the situation.
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