|"OPERATION: GETTING BACK OUR VIEWERS"|
November 14, 1997
Mr. Ted Rogers
President and CEO
Rogers Communications Inc.
Suite 6400, Scotia Plaza
40 King Street West
Dear Mr. Rogers:
RE: 10%-Qtv - "OPERATION: GETTING BACK OUR VIEWERS"
I am writing this letter to elicit your support to get back the hundreds of thousands of viewers lost due to the decision by several local community channel program managers to drop us.
As you may know, 10%-Qtv (formerly called "CABLE 10%") is now in its third highly successful season on Rogers Community TV. During our first year we were carried right across the Rogers Ontario region and we received both positive and negative responses to our programming. Most of the positive letters were from gay men and lesbians who were thrilled to finally have a voice of their own on television. The negative responses tended to be extremely right wing in their rhetoric and most often contained several vehement expletives.
Towards the middle of our second season we realized that quite a number of your local stations had dropped us. At the time it was explained to us that each station has the right to determine their own programming and thus might be running, for example, a sports event at the time we were being broadcast, even though they could have taped the show from the network feed, for a later broadcast.
Recently we learned that, in fact, the local station stations dropped us because a few complaints from a few over zealous viewers who felt a gay and lesbian television show had no business on their cable! Even Mississauga and Brampton (Peel) pulled back late last season.
We did discover that it works both ways, and letters and/or phone calls from a few ardent viewers to the station manager, in this case Tony Lawrence, had a positive effect and Lawrence put us back on the air almost immediately.
But to the best of our knowledge, we are still not available in Newmarket, Brantford, Collingwood, Guelph, Kitchener, London, Midland, Owen Sound, St. Thomas, Stratford, Tillsonburg, Woodstock, Durham and Ottawa. In short we are losing out on more than half of your subscribers in Ontario.
We are particularly disturbed by the fact that the suicide rate among gay teens is three to four times the national average. Undoubtedly, this is due to the relatively low self-esteem and isolation that many young gay men and lesbians feel. Our show is designed to break this isolation, liberate these people and help bolster feelings of self-worth and pride in who they are. We know that our show has had a positive effect on hundreds, if not thousands of homosexuals, their friends and families.
10%-Qtv is created entirely through Betacam SP electronic field production. It is a very labour-intensive program put together by a core group of some thirty volunteers at your Lake Shore facility. We feel we have worked very hard over the past two and a half years to produce a quality program. It is very discouraging to realize that people who need us the most, those gay men and lesbians living in small-town rural Ontario, cannot see our show.
So, as of Tuesday November 18th, we are launching an appeal to our viewers in the GTA to call their friends in the communities mentioned above to have them write/call their local Rogers program managers and insist they carry 10%-Qtv. Additionally we are contacting gay and lesbian community groups across southern Ontario requesting they too begin a letter and phone campaign to the station managers. Your mailing address and fax number is also being carried on our web site.
Mr. Rogers, I am hoping that you can extend some of your influence to help us get back all our viewers. I cannot stress enough just how important this program is to the gay and lesbian community!
We are very thankful for the opportunity to be on the Rogers Community channel. Please help us regain our audience.
Yours very truly,
Executive Producer, 10%-Qtv
525 Lake Shore Blvd. West