Efforts by John Bitove, the fast-food franchise executive, to transform himself into a media mogul have been dealt a setback after Can­ada’s broadcast regulator turned down his proposal to offer a free high-definition television service.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said yesterday that Bitove’s proposal to launch HDTV Networks as a national over-the-air service “would be the Canadian equivalent of a superstation,” or an independent broadcaster that’s carried nationally without paying for programming in local markets.
The commission said it was not satisfied with HDTV’s commitment to provide two hours of local programming per week in the eight markets it proposed to serve — Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax — noting other stations carry more than 22 hours of local programming per week on average.