Canada's Liberal Party government cabinet has turned down a request by cultural and trade groups to review the federal broadcast regulator's granting of subscription-radio licenses to satellite radio

TORONTO -- Canada's Liberal Party government cabinet has turned down a request by cultural and trade groups to review the federal broadcast regulator's granting of subscription-radio licenses to satellite radio operations Canadian Satellite Radio and Sirius Canada.

A string of organizations in August called on the government to review the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission's June 16 decision to grant the licenses.

Canadian Satellite Radio is a Toronto-based joint-venture between local businessman John Bitove Jr. and Washington, D.C.-based XM Satellite Radio Holdings. Sirius Canada is a venture from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Toronto-based Standard Broadcasting Corp. and New York-based Sirius Satellite Radio.

The CRTC ruled that the two satellite operations must offer at least eight Canadian-produced channels with 85% Canadian content. At least 25% of the Canadian channels' output must be French-language. Additionally, the CRTC insisted at least 25% of the music on the Canadian channels be new recordings by domestic acts and a further 25% come from emerging Canadian artists.

"Our country's long-standing and successful Canadian content policy has been dealt a blow," comments Graham Henderson, president of the Canadian Recording Industry Assn. of the cabinet decision. "We regret that the importance of maintaining this policy wasn't reflected in the decision by our elected representatives."

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