|Branding||International Channel/Canal International (ICI)
ICI Television (alternate)
|Slogan||La télé où l'on parle votre langue (French)
Where we speak your language (English)
|Channels||Digital: 47 (UHF)
Virtual: 47.1 (PSIP)
Omni Television (secondary)
(4517466 Canada Inc.)
|First air date||December 11, 2013|
|Former callsigns||CFHG-DT (2013, pre-launch)|
|Transmitter power||5.5 kW|
CFHD-DT (branded as International Channel/Canal International or ICI) is a multicultural television station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It broadcasts a digital signal on UHF channel 47 from a transmitter located at Mount Royal Park, near Downtown Montreal. Owned by Sam Norouzi and his family, it maintains studios located on Christophe Colomb Avenue in Montreal's Ahuntsic district, at the home of the family's production company Mi-Cam Communications.
The channel is a de facto successor to CJNT; the station had started as a multicultural station, but its ethnic output decreased significantly in favor of commercial, English-language programming after it was sold to Western International Communications (WIC), and in turn, Canwest and Channel Zero. CFHD was announced in parallel with a proposal by Rogers Media to purchase CJNT (which had since affiliated with its City network) and change its license to make it a conventional, English-language station. Both Rogers and Channel Zero also planned to provide resources to the new channel.
Prior to the founding of ICI, Sam Norouzi's father produced a Persian program for Télévision Ethnique du Québec (TEQ), a cable access channel that was the precursor to CJNT, which went on the air in 1997. CJNT was sold to Western International Communications (WIC) in 1999, and became owned by Canwest as a CH/E! station when Canwest bought WIC in 2001. Canwest in turn sold the station to Channel Zero in 2009. Over the years, the station's commitment to producing local ethnic programming declined. When it was owned by Channel Zero, it didn't produce any such programming at all.
On May 3, 2012, Rogers Media announced its intent to acquire CJNT, with plans to convert it into an owned-and-operated station of its Citytv television system. In the purchase application published on September 5, 2012, Rogers asked the CRTC for permission to convert CJNT from a multicultural to a full English-language station with programming and conditions of licence similar to the company's other Citytv stations. In exchange, Rogers proposed to support a new multicultural station, ICI (standing for International Channel/Canal International), whose application was made public for the first time on the same date. The CRTC heard both the application for the sale and conversion of CJNT and the application for ICI on November 7, 2012, and approved them on December 20, 2012. As promised, Rogers is supporting ICI with $1.07 million in funding as well as free access to 200 hours a year of programming from Rogers' ethnic Omni Television network. In addition, Channel Zero is offering the station a $1 million loan and free master control services for five years. The station turned on its transmitter for testing on August 21, 2013, and started programming on December 11, 2013, assuming CJNT's former role as Montreal's only multicultural station.
The station's call letters were to be CFHG-DT, but this was changed to CFHD-DT prior to launch.
On March 25, 2013, the CBC filed a lawsuit against Norouzi, requesting that the ICI trademark be expunged and the new station refrain from using ICI as its name. Its French arm, Radio-Canada, had registered a series of 31 trademarks surrounding the word "Ici", and announced in June 2013 that it would re-brand all of its media outlets under brands prefixed with Ici (such as "Ici Télé" for Télévision de Radio-Canada, but revised to "Ici Radio-Canada Télé" after widely publicized complaints). Norouzi's trademark application for "ICI" was submitted in August 2012 and registered in September 2012, prior to the submission of the station's license application with the CRTC, while Radio-Canada's "Ici"-related trademarks were registered the following month. However, the CBC argued that his trademark was invalid because the division had used the phrase "Ici Radio-Canada" as part of its imaging since the 1930s, and that Norouzi's trademark application improperly declared that he had begun using the name in commerce, even before the station was officially unveiled or licensed.
In response, Norouzi considered the lawsuit and the CBC's ability to assert a trademark over an adverb to be "ridiculous", and stated that he intends to retain the ICI name and fight the corporation in court.
The station is structured as a producers' co-operative, where producers of local ethnic shows buy airtime on the station and sell their own advertising. TEQ was operated in a similar way. The Norouzis believed this was preferable to the commercial model employed at other ethnic stations in Canada, as the producers are closer to their communities and therefore best positioned to find advertisers. While the station's licence allows for it to air some non-ethnic programming, it airs an entirely ethnic lineup with most of it being locally produced. CFHD-DT airs programming in Italian, Greek, Arabic, Portuguese, Persian, Romanian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish, French, English, Armenian, Polish and Creole. Programming is directed at the Italian, Latin-American, Lebanese, Egyptian, Maghrebian, Greek, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Romanian, Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, Haitian, Jewish, German, Ukrainian, Polish, Turkish and Filipino ethnic communities in Quebec.
As of May 2014, the only programs broadcast on CFHD-DT not produced by the station or produced locally by other producers are a Portuguese soap opera, Bem-Vindos a Beirais; South Asian Veggie Table, the only OMNI program on CFHD's schedule; and Il est écrit, the French-dubbed version of George Vandeman's weekly It Is Written program. Much of CFHD's programming is also available on YouTube.
- Burning questions about CJNT, Citytv and ICI Fagstein
- Faguy, Steve (2012-10-03). "Proposed TV station aims to bring back 'an ethnic voice'". The Gazette. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
- Rogers proposes two television stations to replace CJNT Fagstein
- Citytv comes to Montreal … kinda Fagstein
- Citytv expanding into Quebec & Western Canada, CityNews, May 3, 2012.
- Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-697, December 20, 2012.
- Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-696, December 20, 2012.
- Faguy, Steve (2012-12-20). "CRTC approves new Montreal TV stations". The Gazette. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
- Faguy, Steve (2013-08-22). "New ethnic TV station ICI begins over-the-air transmission". Fagstein. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
- "Radio-Canada president apologizes for 'Ici' rebranding plan". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "Radio-Canada's 'Ici' rebranding spells trouble for businessman". The Gazette. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Fagstein: "ICI est là: Ethnic TV station posts its programs on YouTube", May 3, 2014.