Channel M to launch Friday; teaming up with CTV for news


VANCOUVER - This Friday at 7 p.m., Vancouverites will get to know M, Channel M, that is, as Multivan Broadcast Corp. launches its new multicultural broadcast station.

Carried (for now) on cable channel 8 in Vancouver, southern Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the channel's news, entertainment and lifestyle programming is directed at 22 ethnic communities.

The home for Channel M is at the corner of Pender and Columbia Streets in the heart of one of Vancouver's most vibrant ethnic communities. The main studio features large windows to make it visible from the street and allow passers-by to get a first hand look into TV production. "The location has the energy and accessibility that will best reflect our station's philosophy," says Channel M's president and CEO Art Reitmayer on the channel's web site.

"Channel M's broadcast systems are state of the art. The digital equipment we have acquired from all of our major suppliers will provide superb broadcast quality today as well as an easily managed migration to widescreen and HD in the future," he continues.

Today, Channel M and CTV British Columbia announced an arrangement to share television news footage and resources and to explore cross-promotional opportunities.

That means when Channel M launches, the independent station will have access to local, national and international news feeds from CTV British Columbia. In return, the local CTV station will enhance its successful news operation by drawing on Channel M's coverage of local events and news stories from an ethnic perspective.

"We are excited about working with the CTV news team and accessing their news feeds to complement the visual elements of our diverse newscasts," said Teresa Wat, Channel M's news director, in a press release. "The community as a whole will benefit from having ethnic issues profiled on Channel M as well as receiving increased exposure on CTV British Columbia."

"This arrangement positions both TV stations to better reflect the diversity of our audience and advertisers," added Jim Rusnak, vice-president and general manager, CTV British Columbia. "It makes good business sense to build on the strengths that our station and Channel M collectively bring to this market."

Channel M will feature newscasts in Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi, as well as public affairs, lifestyles and entertainment programming in more than 20 different languages.

As for a permanent cable channel, that is still being hammered out between Channel M, the CRTC and local MSO Shaw Cable as channel 8 is an interim slot.

"Discussions between Channel M and the Canadian Radio-Television & Telecommunications Commission are continuing as Channel M endeavors to secure a permanent channel that would provide a consistent position on the dial within the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island," said a Channel M release.

"The channel allocation process is taking longer than anticipated," said Reitmayer, "however, rather than delay our launch, everyone at Channel M is excited about going to air on June 27th."

Channel M's transmitter is located on Mt. Seymour and will broadcast to an audience of over 3 million people.

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