Friday, April 26, 2013

CanCon

While our two dominant political parties perennially argue about the perils of the fairness doctrine, other nations handle their media quite differently. In Canada for example, they extend this idea of fairness even into the content of music programming. They call it "Canadian content" which is abbreviated as CanCon, cancon or can-con. More here.

Canadian content refers to the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) requirements for broadcasters to air a certain percentage of content that in some way is Canadian. The term broadcaster here is broad, in this case in includes radio, television, cable and and satellite. but there are loopholes the content  has to be at least partly written, produced, presented, or otherwise contributed to by an actual Canadian. The correlation is tracked by MAPL (Music, Artist, Performance and Lyrics.) Yes... even the words can be Canadian. So in the words of one analyst, the definition is "squishy."  Craptastic.com wrote a seething indictment of the rules here. I quote it below:
"In the States you have one hit wonders. In Canada you have no hit wonders getting constant air play solely for being Canadian... Thanks CanCon...thanks a fucking lot."

But how much and how often is actually somewhat complicated. They have broken radio stations and the music into categories. While every licensed radio station is required to air a percentage of its weekly music programming to CanCon required amount depends both on the type of radio station and the type of music it broadcasts. There are special exceptions for Nostalgia and Oldies formats because of the playlist limitations with a mere 2% requires for stations focused on pre-1956 tracks. There is also special dispensation for college stations on a week-to-week basis because of the variability of new release schedules.

Popular Music (Category 2) 
  • English-language and French-language stations must ensure that at least 35% of the Popular Music they broadcast each week is Canadian content.  
  • Commercial radio stations also have to ensure that at least 35% of the Popular Music broadcast between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday is Canadian content. 
  • CBC / Radio Canada stations must ensure that at least 50% of their Popular Music selections broadcast each week are Canadian content.  

Special Interest Music (Category 3)
  •  English-language and French-language commercial radio stations must ensure that at least 10% of all Special Interest Music broadcast is devoted to Canadian selections. They’re also expected to ensure that at least 25% of all concert music (subcategory 31) and 20% of all jazz and blues music (subcategory 34) broadcast is devoted to Canadian selections.
  • All commercial radio stations have to ensure that Special Interest Music selections, including Canadian content, are scheduled in a reasonable manner throughout the broadcast day.
  • When these stations renew their licenses, they’re expected to propose an increase in the Canadian Special Interest Music they play – except in the case of concert music or jazz and blues. 
  • Native radio stations must ensure that 10% of all Special Interest Music broadcast each week are Canadian selections.  
  • Campus and community radio stations must devote at least 12% of all Special Interest Music broadcast each week to Canadian selections. 
  • CBC / Radio Canada stations have to ensure that at least 20% of all Special Interest Music broadcast each week is Canadian content. 
 Other countries employ similar quota systems such as Australia, Philippines, Mexico, Nigeria, Israel, South Africa, Jamaica, Venezuela, New Zealand, Ireland and France and the rest of the European Union who share a European Union content rule superseding their domestic laws.