Tuesday’s layoff announcement at Rogers sent shockwaves as it decided to end all of OmniTV’s produced diversity programming, which included Ukrainian news show Svitohliad. Other notable diversity programming included Polish, Greek, Japanese and Tamil. The channel has been airing multilingual television since 1972, bought by Rogers in 1985 and re-branded as Omni1 and Omni2 in 2002.
Svitohliad was a flagship show for the Ukrainian community, as OmniTV was one of the few stations to air ethnic programming as part of their regular schedule. It covered community events, interviews with notable figures and even news segments from Ukraine.
While certainly not as profitable as importing popular American programming (which all Canadian networks are very guilty of, with notable exception to the CBC), OmniTV showcased Canada’s multicultural landscape with homegrown television. The announcement forces viewers who want multicultural programming onto Rogers’ premium international channels which feature Polish and Russian channels, but not Ukrainian. For that you still need to watch over the internet on sites like UkrainaTV.
The ending for Svitohliad came rather abrupt and unannounced, as the show never established an online presence to branch out, connect, provide updates or post show archives. There is no word yet on the other Ukrainian show on OmniTV, Kontakt, which is not produced by Omni as it is an independent venture. Luckily Kontakt has an online presence too, where they do post their shows.