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Wylie gets another year

by Greg O'Brien

OTTAWA - The CRTC's vice-chair, broadcasting, Andrée Wylie, has been given an 11th-hour reprieve by the federal government.

According to sources, after a Federal Cabinet meeting held last Thursday, the Governor-General quietly signed the papers re-upping Wylie, whose term as Commissioner was due to expire today.

An appointment of the Jean Chretien Liberals, Wylie was thought to be on the bubble and had been actively campaigning to stay on, despite the change in government. However, with recent, unpopular CRTC broadcasting decisions (RAI International, Al-Jazeera, CHOI-FM), some in the industry and in Ottawa believed that cabinet would not re-appoint her.

However, cabinet is likely sending a message, having appointed her for just one additional year, rather than the usual, five-year term, which is the maximum allowed. For example, Alberta/Northwest region commissioner Ron Williams' was recently re-appointed to a term that expires in 2008 and both Andrée Noel and Stuart Langford have appointments that run until 2007.

"It's unusual for an appointment to be this short," said one Ottawa-based TV industry lobbyist, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It usually means they don't really know what to do with the spot and are putting off a decision."

Wylie was appointed vice-chair of broadcasting on September 1, 1998 and has been a full-time commissioner since March 1995.

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