By RON FANFAIR
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved the application by Afromedia Communication for a broadcasting license to operate an African cable television channel.
The CRTC also approved Afromedia’s request to offer a standard and high definition version of the service that promises to provide indigenous African programming on the African Movies and Entertainment Television (AMET TV) channel.
“When you look around, there are Chinese and South Asian TV programming meeting the needs of those nationals in the Greater Toronto Area, but nothing for people from the African Diaspora and the Caribbean,” said Afromedia spokesperson and principal shareholder, Oluwaremi Awojide. “The African and Afro-Caribbean population is increasing yet there is no TV channel or electronic media taking care of this population in terms of providing relevant content for them. This new specialty channel will fill that void.”
Beginning on January 6, AMET TV began broadcasting a one-hour weekly show on Thursdays between 8 and 9 p.m. on the multicultural TV station CJNT – it’s available to Bell (207) and Rogers (122) subscribers – that’s owned and operated by Channel Zero.
“This will provide us with an opportunity to build the market, reach out and get response from viewers as we move to launch a 24-hour cable TV channel on all major Broadcasting Distribution Undertakers (BDU) across Canada by the summer,” Awojide said. “Our aim is to become the first cable television channel in this country to showcase 100 per cent African content programming.”
Afromedia recently signed a five-year technical contract with Channel Zero to carry out master control services, program scheduling, close captioning and also transmit via optic-fibre link to the BDUs.
Awojide is part of the investment group comprising Nigerian nationals residing in Canada.
“We were inspired by the successful launch of three African specialty channels in the United Kingdom and the need to provide African programming here,” he said.
According to Afromedia, 70 per cent of the weekly programming broadcast will be in English, 20 per cent in French and the remaining 10 per cent in Yoruba, Swahili, Hausa, Twi, Fante and Arabic languages.