News: Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN) to shut down May 2010

Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN), Saskatchewan’s provincial educational broadcaster, will sign off in May 2010.  The closure is mentioned in Saskatchewan’s 2010 provincial budget.  SCN signed on May 6, 1991, licensed by the CRTC as a non-commercial television network.

SCN’s dissolution is expected to save the Saskatchewan government around $5 million a year, and $2.4 million for the 2010-11 budget year.  SCN cites “poor viewership” as the reason for its closure.

SCN has backed shows like Rabbit Fall and Wapos Bay in the past, helping build a local film and television industry for Saskatchewan.  SCN accepts a few original comedy and/or drama projects per year (caution: PDF), as well as documentaries.

SCN is at least being forthright with its closure.  A public broadcaster in a sparsely populated province can’t compete against cable and the Internet.  At least SCN funds general-interest adult programming, something TVOntario doesn’t do beyond documentaries and The Agenda with Steve Paikin.  Even TFO has Météo+ and Francoeur.

The closest thing SCN has to educational television now is ACCESS, where The Listener and Desperate Housewives are part of Alberta’s university curricula.  ACCESS is a sad shell of what it once was.

C. Archer
Le Social