The Straight Goods on Alain Strati
Four things to know about the CMPA's new SVP
Alain Strati is the CMPA’s new Senior Vice-President, Industry, Policy and General Counsel. Born and raised in Montreal — and fluently bilingual — Strati represents the interests of indie producers across the CMPA’s policy, regulatory, industry and legal-affairs files. It’s a big job, but Strati’s game.
He has lots of broadcaster-side experience.
Strati knows the regulatory landscape inside and out — even if, prior to joining the CMPA, he was coming at the issues from a slightly different angle. His most recent role was Assistant General Counsel, Regulatory Affairs at Bell Canada Enterprises (“Just a small, entrepreneurial company,” he jokes), where he worked on CRTC regulatory files, cultural policy, and government relations strategies. Before that, he held a number of positions at Rogers Media, including Vice President of Business & Regulatory Affairs at OMNI, Rogers Media’s multilingual subsidiary.
He’s committed to great Canadian content.
Strati counts the commissioning work he did at Rogers, for Citytv, OMNI, OLN and other channels, among the “greatest hits” of his career thus far. Long before joining the CMPA, he worked with independent producers on shows like Murdoch Mysteries (Citytv), Less than Kind (Citytv) and Survivorman (OLN). “There was a really vibrant audience for those shows,” he says. “Working with the producers and seeing the audience’s reaction to those shows was incredible.”
Strati notes that in the earlier stages of the Information Age, distributors had a baked-in advantage — but that advantage has largely disappeared. Today, content is king. He points out that while the volume and variety of content has exploded, “there will always be a very important place for Canadian programming. There will always be an interest in Canadian content, and we need to ensure that our content is positioned to compete for people’s interest, not only here but around the world.”
He believes in diverse content for diverse audiences.
Another of his “greatest hits”? Transforming OMNI, the multicultural cable mainstay, from a single station in Toronto into a national broadcaster with multiple stations in Ontario, Alberta and BC. “It’s so important to have a local voice that represents your interests and concerns, and also to have multiple communities speaking to each other,” he says. “What happens in the Punjabispeaking community in Vancouver is of interest to the Punjabi-speaking community in Toronto, for example.”
Strati also sits on the board of Accessible Media, which operates audio and video channels (AMI-audio and AMI-tv) for the visually impaired community. “AMI-tv shows like Employable Me and You Can’t Ask That break down stigmas about the disability community,” he says. “It’s niche content for a niche audience — and it has massive importance for that audience.”
He’s super active in the Toronto sports community.
Years ago, Strati volunteered to coach his six-year-old son’s soccer team. His son has since moved on from the sport, but Strati continued to climb the coaching ranks and is now vice president of the Toronto Soccer Association.
He doesn’t limit himself to the sidelines, however. He’s also an avid tennis player, and folks may have seen him at the Banff World Media Festival sneaking in some early-morning matches with industry colleagues before the programming got going each day.
“I’m a big believer in sports for youth and adults, too,” he says. “Physically and psychologically, it’s a great opportunity to focus on something other than your daily grind, and to express and enjoy yourself. It keeps you young, playing sports.”