Broadcast Decisions Ensure Communities Win
HQ's parent company, Vista Radio, is about to almost double in size.
Just a day after knocking back Bell's application to acquire Astral Radio, the Canadian Radio Television Commission (CRTC) has approved Vista's acquisition of Haliburton Broadcast Group.
Vista President and CEO Margot Micallef says both decisions appear to be two sides of the same coin.
"I think what this Commission is signaling is that they want to see diversity in the Canadian broadcasting system and they want to see strong players. It's wonderful to be given the opportunity to develop Vista as a company that helps to create independence and bring diversity of voices to all of these different markets."
Indeed, while Micallef is promising "more feet on the street, more news-gathering and a stronger focus on the local communities" in Vista's newly-acquired markets, the CRTC decision on the Bell-Astral deal made explicit reference to concerns over "a decreased number of voices... fewer options for consumers... [and] a direct threat to freedom of the press."
Vista's "local, local, local" mantra will also continue to be played out online, with the launch of more HQ community portals in Ontario, offering hyper-local news, event information, classifieds and more.
"This is an important decision for Vista of course, but also for the industry," said Micallef. "What the Commission did by approving this transaction is help create another significant broadcaster in Canada."
With the support of major investor Westerkirk Capital, Vista is working on further expansion across Canada.
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