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CBC Vancouver TV to Drop Sports Package/Revamp Show

June 16th, 2014 · 22 Comments

Shortly after the final whistle blows at the FIFA World Cup in July,  CBC TV Vancouver will blow the final whistle on the full sports package that is now a regular part of its 6 p.m. News.

Sports anchor/reporter Shane Foxman will be shifted to the 5 p.m. news …  to do “non-sports” reporting; and sportscaster Karin Larsen will also be moved into news.

The changes are a work still in progress but I hear the station will no longer broadcast game highlights or even detailed sports league scores … major or college.

And that’s just the beginning.

Word is the current news reporting model will also be changed this Fall … moving away from what happened to explain and explore more about WHY it happened and HOW it will impact viewers.

Local CBC News Director Wayne Williams was tight-lipped when I asked him about the coming changes. (I guess news stations HATE to be scooped on their own story! 🙂  )

“We’re working through a number of scenarios as we re-imagine our local news offer. We’ll have more to confirm in the near future.  Thanks for your interest,” Williams wrote in an e-mail response to my request for more details.

It’s not surprising changes are coming: TV ratings are a closely guarded secret (unless someone in the industry who wants the truth told) but CBC local news reportedly languishes at less than half a point.  Ouch!

And not even spending the big bucks to bring in Tony Parsons did much to challenge anyone else. His contract wasn’t renewed last Fall.

In fact, right across the country, CBC local news regularly comes in third in almost all urban markets, behind CTV in first and Global in second place (in Vancouver Global still outdraws CTV).

We really should wish CBC local well .. and success withy its changes.

It serves journalism and the public interest in general to have better competition in news coverage and reporting.

And it would really worry me if the station’s local news shows continue to slump: I hear rumblings that the brass back East have even considered dropping full newscasts from local CBC stations completely … feeding stories from each city into some sort of a revamped Newsworld instead.

That would cut staff and save money …. but even FEWER stories which should be covered, investigated and reported would actually make it to air.

THAT would make local news offerings even worse.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · Media

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Oldislander // Jun 16, 2014 at 9:17 am

    That is very interesting and encouraging, considering the dismal state of affairs, the news has become on Global and even CTV.

    We never watch sports on any of the TV news we watch – FF through it on the PVR. If I want specific sports info, I go to a specialty site. Same with the weather – we’re not interested in reams of mundane info about what happened across BC and Canada (unless it was actually newsworthy) — FF through 95% of it.

    More ‘how’ and ‘why’ analysis sounds promising. I’ll be tuning in to see.

    (Response: I don’t watch sports news very often on local tv …not because I’m not interested (I’m watching soccer right now; watch hockey a LOT; and even pay for the NHL channel when down south) …but because too much of it is just soft p.r. type stuff. Seems more designed to please the sports personalities and teams covered rather than the viewers. We need more like …but not necessarily carbon copies …like Neil McCrae! THAT would make watching sports news interesting! h.o.)

  • 2 nonconfidencevote // Jun 16, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Is the CBC BC French language station still operating at $7 million per annum?
    Seems a critical waste of taxpayers money at a time when the English language station could use every penny.
    But how would we employ francophone reporters in the rest of Canada otherwise.

    (Response: Having French stations/newscasts is part of our two-languages national policy. But if they want to keep it real, the government/CBC must realize there is no sense spending millions on minority languages (English or French) in SMALL communities where the percentage of the population is very low. But in large urban areas, I think it’s good to have both …so people can feel part of the community and keep in touch with what’s going on in that area or nationally or their community in a language they best understand. h.o)

  • 3 nonconfidencevote // Jun 16, 2014 at 9:36 am

    CBC tv. A sad mockery of its former self. I couldn’t care less if it was shut down. $1 Billion dollars a year to be spent elsewhere
    CBC radio is excellent. I would miss CBC radio.

    (Response: Well, as I stated, some believe that could indeed happen within a year or so, regarding all local news. I do not believe that would be good …for anyone, really. h.o)

  • 4 r // Jun 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Maybe CBC could start with year long plus IKEA strike in Richmond BC.
    binding arbitration anyone.?

  • 5 Henri // Jun 16, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Harve you may remember back years ago the back yard satellite dish era , people who never had access to TV were now able to see programing and shows at will and for free, for most the first time, but there was no conceivable way to pay for those services , the infrastructure to subscribed did arrive a few years after this high influx of those sat. dishes plainly there was a market through out the states and Canada for this budding business, the Canadian program suppliers resisted, people were forced to subscribe to the American program suppliers ,which they did on mass. The Canadian signal suppliers came on board a few after years the Americans realizing they were losing out on a very lucrative market.
    CBC loathe those with sat dishes and branded them as pirates and thieves, and coined the phrase “the stars will soon go black for these pirates and thieves” as they did not care or realized that people were willing to pay for these services and continue to this day, people who had CBC only were fed up with the crap that they supplied and also turned to the dish, CBC probably knew then that their days would be now numbered, and for branding so many of us as pirates and thieves for wanting a service that most took for granted I say good riddance to CBC and don’t let the door slam you in the ass on your way out my tax paying door.

    (Response: CBC makes an easy target…but believe me, when you see …I should say suffer … the crud that passes for news coverage and local programming south of the border, you really appreciate the CBC. Sure, there’s waste and LOTS of bureaucracy, but CBC DOES do some really good programming… I opt for The National over CTV News anytime (even though I believe the National is too Toronto/Montreal centric and doesn’t do enough to reflect Western Canada, BC or Maritimes points of view in ANY of its so-called “national” panels. h.o)

  • 6 mike // Jun 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    “the crud that passes for news coverage and local programming south of the border”

    And the local news coverage up here is any better? The only reason I now watch the 6pm news is out of habit and well, there isn’t much else to watch at that time. The news is nothing but human interest pap and ambulance chasing.

    (Response; Actually as hard as it may seem …it IS over-all still better up here. Although moving more and more to the US model in local coverage. h.o)

  • 7 nonconfidencevote // Jun 16, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Well, truth be known. I’d rather watch Randeen Neil than Chris ( the Bellower) Gailus every day of the week.
    Is the guy hard of hearing or what?

  • 8 13 // Jun 16, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Harvey Im torn on this one. On one hand I believe that we are close to the breaking point with tax money going to pay for public sector workers salaries and benefits. They eat up so much tax revenue at all three levels of government that we cant afford to build bridges, roads, schools etc. Things that income tax was designed to pay for. Not gold plated pensions and public broadcasters.
    On the other hand CBC is or seems to be a true part of our Canadian culture. I value anything that is uniquely Canadian. If the corporation could eliminate some waste and operate on a tighter budget I would like to see it endure. If they could somehow manage to increase revenue from advertising that would be even better. Not being much of a hockey fan the loss of Hockey Night In Canada only hurts because it was an institution. Maybe we can watch reruns of Wayne and Shuster.

    (Response: If you have any doubts about the value of CBC …especially providing a Canadian perspective on world news … just watch CTV or Global “world” news reports … and notice how many of them are actually American news feeds. Is that what we really want? Very few Canadian news reporters/abroad …because it’s very expensive …and only the CBC, thanks to public funding, CAN do that. Yes, sometimes I think it’s too far left ..but I’d rather have that than endless stories talking about how Americans are doing in various trouble spots and what American officials and politicians are saying about it all etc. h.o)

  • 9 Larry Bennett // Jun 16, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Now that you mention it, noncon, Chris does tend to bellow! Never really bothered me before, and now because of your picayune intensity, it probably will. More bothersome I thought was the fact that Father’s Day was turned into a feminist rant by suggesting that good fathers “empower” their daughters. So their telecast was really not a tip pf the hat to fathers, but rather a promotion of feminism. It would be just fine for your daughter to abort your grandchild because, ….. well because Justin says it is all good!

  • 10 13 // Jun 17, 2014 at 4:42 am

    Harvey, over the years I have seldom turned to CBS ,NBC,ABC for nightly news. CBC local news at six hasnt been a staple either. The National at 10pm is my favorite CBC news show. I admit I used to watch 60 minutes, mostly to see what or whom Andy Rooney would lampoon at the end of the show. The six oclock news was always BCTV. Now that the show has become an embarasment I seldom watch any news at 6. I get enough news listening to NW 10 hrs every work day.

    Larry , rest easy . Fathers day was as always Pro Life Sunday. I would imagine that the sermon I heard at our parish was similar to the one delivered at thousands of other churches. The priest pointed out Justin(e)s decision to dictate abortion stance to all Liberal MPs. I would imagine that as the next eletion aproaches the letter writting will intensify and the CWL will likely take on Justin as well.

    (Response: I take them all in at some point each week …from CBC to Aljazeera, the US nets, BBC, and occasionally local news (though not as regularly as before) …. a LOT of news programming, although it’s not good for my blood pressure, because I can see the journalistic weaknesses, slant etc.! But if you push aside the propaganda leaning, you can discern what’s going on in the world. To stop watching any of them completely would limit my perspective. h.o)

  • 11 Louis // Jun 17, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I’m starting to change my mind about the CBC. It began around the time they brought in Tony Parsons…a short sighted ploy that had nothing to do with quality but was just a way to get some quick ratings. I thought if that’s what it’s all about, then why are we helping to fund it?

    It also bothers me that the local radio shows seem to be competing head to head with commercial radio. They’re spending tax dollars on billboards etc so obviously the ratings are important to them. Because they don’t have to play commercials and they’ve got the budget for lots of producers and support staff it doesn’t seem to be a fair fight (not that commercial radio has a clue how to compete – I’m talking to you NW).

    I think the national radio programming is really entertaining and supports the mandate of the CBC. The local stuff just seems to be copying the commercial side.

    (Response: I have no doubt CBC is monitoring what is being said on here …and you certainly have reflected criticisms many others no doubt share. The network is reacting to two big financial pressures: federal budget cuts and huge loss of major sports (NHL) revenues coming in the future, so I can understand the need to streamline and eliminate waste. But I worry that they will get rid of local news completely …terrible thing to do …or cut it back to the point where it is no different from the shallow, news-on-a-platter content and puffery of its competitors. h.o)

  • 12 Cam // Jun 17, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I am a first time responder and news junkie myself. I really do value the CBC and think that its national news service, in particular, is excellent. You certainly don’t get the depth and analysis of stories anywhere else in Canada like you do on “The National”. Despite the high quality it delivers, I believe that “The National” does not have anywhere near the highest ratings of national newscasts (correct me if I’m wrong). I wonder if that speaks to the time, value and interest the public generally places on serious journalism. If so, perhaps that is why local stations are giving us more “fluff” and superficial coverage of stories than ever before? I rarely watch local tv news anymore because there are so few stories that really matter.

    On another point you’ve written about in past posts, the breadth of knowledge and experience of local reporters seems to be quitelimited or perhaps I am just getting more critical as I get older. I’d much rather have a reporter with a solid background in history, economics, political science, etc than one with a pretty face or soothing voice.

    (Response: The trouble with reporters with solid backgrounds and esp backgrounds in economics, history, political science is they cost money; youngsters who have none of that come a lot cheaper. The National does not lead the ratings… I believe it comes in third, behind CTV and Global National in total viewership … when you add up all the numbers, because each show is carried multiple times on multiple stations across the country. But I like it best … and have the impression it breaks more legitimately important stories than the two others combined. h.o)

  • 13 seven // Jun 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Louis: “The local stuff just seems to be copying the commercial side.”

    Not in the case of CBC’s Daybreak South with Chris Walker. Google Christy Clark Penticton Hospital Chris Walker. Not one of Christy’s finer moments.

    I didn’t agree that the CBC needed a Kamloops bureau–Daybreak South could have nixed their fluff contests etc to make space for Kamloops regional news/programing.

  • 14 nonconfidencevote // Jun 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    another day , another female “empowerment” “news” story on Global 6pm news……yawn.
    Perhaps they should do another baby story……oops. Spoke too soon.
    Baby story coming right up!

    Methinks the producer or program director might be…….female?

  • 15 Henri // Jun 17, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Harve Response in part #5 , CBC makes an easy target,the crud that passes for news coverage and local programming south of the border, you really appreciate the CBC
    I have subscribed to Canadian TV 25-30 yrs (via sat.) For quite some now time CBC has been available both over the air and on the dish.
    As for CBC being an easy target , they have to take credit for that , they drew their own target on their backs.
    The first TV signals to the lower mainland was not the CBC but KVOS- KING TV out of Bellingham and Tucoma Wash.
    If not for the American KVOS and KING TV signals comeing up to the lowermain land i doubt that CBC would have had much incentive. Without KVOS-KING to view and with only CBC to watch I’m sure 95% of the TV viewers would have burned their television sets, which still stands today if not for the present alternate TV packages.
    When CBC did later on arrive to the lower mainland, other than the news and weather man ( Bob Fortune who was popular) even though his weather forcast were not very accurate, without him and the news very little reg programing was worth while vieweing , what I recall it was baseicly poor quality TV not much at all entertaining, people would watch KVOS-KING for viewing entertainment. KVOS would often carry some lowermain land news and events along with a fair amount of BC advertising. ( I refer you to your american news crud remark 🙂
    The present CBC has passed it’s best before due date, time to privatize it all, short of that become a national commercial free news only carrier. Incedentatly KVOS is presently carried on Telus SAT dish, not sure if on their cable , but Im thinking of subscribing to them due in part of their KVOS TV coverage.

  • 16 ISLAND LOOKOUT // Jun 17, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Nothing ever changes at the Mother Corp’s Vancouver news HQ.

    I was unfortunate enough to toil there in the early ’80s.

    I arrived at the newsroom during the tail-end of a horrendous libel trial in which the taxpayers of Canada forked over God-knows how much loot to the truly deserving aggrieved party, whose name had been used falaciously in various local nightly news reports out of that newsroom for some period of time.

    There followed a purge of Bolshevikian magnitude. A new leader, and her many bowing, scraping and whingeing minions, arrived one day and the operation pretty much hit the rating skids at an even quicker speed, and almost at once!

    Way too many years later, that “new” crew and leader were deep-sixed in typical CBC managerial fashion. The “dirty dozen”, or whomever, all had a bad hair day one week and were gone in 60 seconds.

    After that the news operation was chopped down to a much lesser size then further changes evolved (devolved?) as time went by and now the latest purge.

    Why? Still the ratings. CBC News Vancouver is akin to an information wasteland in which stuff is broadcast and STILL no one watches.

    The veteran newshound Wayne Williams, now in charge, looks like he’s practising the same form of insanity of his predecessors: trying various format changes, many of which are warmed over former “changes”, in the faint hope of trolling for a different outcome: grabbing more viewers! But they STILL never show up!

    Wayne, a hint: the wheel is ALWAYS round! And the best of luck.

    The only reason this newsroom stays open is because of some publicly-funded mandate that it must provide a public service. Which it does, sort of.

    A private sector broadcast unit performing that incompetently would have been taken out and buried eons ago!

    (Response: Fascinating stuff! I remember at one time being courted by CBC …yes, CBC …and agreed to meet the big newsroom honcho at the time IN PRIVATE at a restaurant far away from the corp. He told me how I could return to doing more in depth and investigative stories/features, instead of the day to day shallow stuff that had become the hallmark of Global under a do more with less management style. I was interested …until he told me the salaried job would pay 40% below what I was getting at Global or 25% less on a contract….both reviewable after a six month probation period. But not to worry he said because he was in charge and I would have no problem staying on. I ended up declining the offer … and a few months later he had been fired in one of those famous CBC purges! h.o)

  • 17 D M Johnston // Jun 17, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Back in the late 80’s, just after the then new SkyTrain had been in operation for a few years, the CBC new and a news magazine program did an expose on SkyTrain and the Ontario Crown corporation UDTC, the owners of the proprietary mini-metro system.

    The Premier of Ontario a one Conservative Bill Davis, close friend of Brian Mulroney.

    I was interviews three times by the CBC reporters, twice at the old Vancouver Press Club on Granville St. The hour long show took about three months to put together and from what I saw it was a block buster, full of government sleaze, back scratching and questionable legal dealings.

    Literally hours before it aired (I saw a promo on CBC), on orders of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the program was pulled and buried and the three reporters were transferred or what ever the CBC do, out of BC! One of the reporters phoned me and told me not to repeat anything we talked about in case the CBC would sue me.

    Why, I not know.

    What this did leave me with is a very bad taste in my mouth but also a realization that ultimately, the CBC had to kow-tow to the PMO. It is also why I stopped watching news on the CBC.

    (Response: Wow! Are you sure it was pulled on direction of PM? Any proof? Or maybe CBC lawyers pulled the plug ..finding it to be quite libellous? Whatever the reason …I’d sure like to see it! h.o)

  • 18 nonconfidencevote // Jun 18, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Brian Mulroney involved in a scandal?
    Nah , never happen.
    Where’s my Air Canada Air Bus ticket?

  • 19 D M Johnston // Jun 18, 2014 at 7:52 am

    The last and only communication from the reporter (I have forgotten her name as it was 26 years ago) was that the piece was given the green light from lawyers at every (I remember asking about libel) step as she had ample paper evidence to support claims. She said that the CBC brass were told by the PMO not to show the documentary and the piece was, to put into her own words; “Reduced to produce”.

    I recollect her showing me documents from certain Socred types, acknowledging and purposely hiding the many problems with SkyTrain because it would harm sales. The one item were the wheels, but Charlie Smith did a whole series about the many problems with SkyTrain in the 90’s and the replacement of the wheels (they were being flown in on a regular basis during Expo 86) were a constant and expensive problem.

    The other item she talked about was Bill Davis’s “Blue – Machine”, but that was all verbal and I didn’t really understand the implications of that until much later in life.

    We must remember that Mr. Mulroney won a libel case from the CBC, yet in the end he did tell some “porkies” over Airbus. I think the same sort of thing was happening with SkyTrain, but that was an age ago and the proof has been lost in the wind.

    A note: The UDTC was sold to Lavalin and Lavalin went bankrupt while they were trying to sell ALRT to Bangkok and the patents for the proprietary SkyTrain ICTS/ALRT/ALM/ART system are held by both Bombardier and SNC.

  • 20 nonconfidencevote // Jun 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    and SNC would NEVER bribe a politician………..

  • 21 Cariboofly // Jun 19, 2014 at 7:38 am

    “Word is the current news reporting model will also be changed this Fall … moving away from what happened to explain and explore more about WHY it happened and HOW it will impact viewers.”

    OH GOODY !! The left wing-nut equivalent of Sun “News”. Neither of which will come close to providing any real news. We’ll all be going online, lest we get stuck in fluff.

    (Response: You’re absolutely right to be concerned: whenever news veers away from just telling WHAT happened to analysing WHY or HOW or WHAT THE SOLUTION is we run the danger of being propagandized, rather than informed. And in the case of CBC .. IF they do that, I have no doubt it will be more left wing orientated than right …so let’s hope they do NOT do that. h.o)

  • 22 marge // Jun 21, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Were you folks aware that CBC outsources the moderators for its newsites? I always believed that if you posted a comment at one of the news stories that it was a CBC “person” monitoring the site. After something one of my comments was “changed” to reflect something totally different, I was told by CBC that their forums are outsourced and they are not responsible for what happens there. That totally and completely floored me.

    (Response: Amazing! You would think with as many staff as they have, they could do that themselves. h.o)