CHEK: CanWest Creditors Should Step In!

So where are CanWest’s creditors! Hard to believe that creditors, holding debt into the billions of dollars or piles of almost worthless CanWest shares are standing by and letting a few million more dollars slip from CanWest’s coffers.

The marvelous money mavens at CanWest plan to shut their Victoria’ CHEK TV station down at month end. Seems they can’t make a go at a station that others had made a go of  for more than 40 years.  So kill it!

And to solidify their reputations with many as fiscal incompetents … they have also turned down a $2.5 MILLION offer from former employees and other business interest to buy the station and keep it operating. 

Turned down $2.5 MILLION!!!   At a time when other stations have been sold back East for reportedly as little as $12!  Yes, that’s $12!

CanWest’s quoted logic is that the CHEK offer doesn’t include assumption of  any expenses/debt accumulated during the transfer period … so CanWest wants $5 MILLION … not $2.5 MILLION.  Ridiculous!!! 

If CHEK simply closes down, does the station’s debt disappear?  Of course not … it remains a CanWest liability.  So the offer … any offer … to mitigate that debt, especially a very substantial $2.5 MILLION CASH … should be more than welcome.

I’d bet CanWest’s unfortunate debtors would like to see that $2.5 MILLION in their hands.

Not to mention CanWest’s obligation to the community at large, after apparently totally screwing up the operation of such a television icon in British Columbia’s capital city.

Remember that campaign to fool the CRTC by claiming private television networks want a share of cablevision revenues to help save local television.  What they really want is a share of cablevision revenues AND the closing down of many local stations with less than stellar revenues. To hell with serving the local conmmunities. 

My own suspicion is that CanWest wants CHEK gone to shore up ratings at its CHAN CanWest Global station in Vancouver.  Plain and simple … if they can’t own CHEK … kill it off. And hope a good number of the viewers shift to CHAN. 

You may ask … where is the CRTC on any of this? 

 Of course, from what I can see, nowhere.  I believe the CRTC long ago abandonned its responsibilities to local communities: seeing its primary role now as bailing out greedy corporations, which in their rush to acquire and expand, went too far too fast. And now demand .. and will  likely get …  new sources of revenue … while still shutting down many local stations.

CHEK’s new financiers deserve a chance to at least try.

And if  CanWest’s money managers are willing to thumb their noses at $2.5 MILLION …  CanWest’s creditors should not be!

Harv Oberfeld

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11 Responses to CHEK: CanWest Creditors Should Step In!

  1. Leah says:

    Perhaps they’re more concerned about CHEK making a go of it under real leadership. Might the employees actually DO the job they’ve always wanted to do..whilst they were being held back by their masters?

    Yeah, it’s time for the creditors to step in and say, take the money – or else.

  2. SharingIsGood says:

    Back from a much-needed holiday, I see Harv Oberfeld writing one of the best opinion pieces I have ever read in relation to BC, the CRTC and big media! Well done, HO!

    (Response: Thanks. And I want everyone to know SharingIsGood and I are not relatives. 🙂 h.o.)

  3. Crankypants says:

    It boggles the mind when it comes to how some business enterprises operate. Canwest has been gaining extensions from its creditors on such a regular basis that one would assume they would jump at the chance to get 2.5 million dollars from any source, even if it comes with some possible risks. It’s not as if the business plan they have employed has been very successful and if I was one of their creditors, I’d be pressuring them to get whatever they can from wherever I could get it. This is just another example of a company leveraging itself out of existence. Tomorrow will be a sad day for those that have toiled at CHEK-TV and a disgrace that our capital city will have no local television station. Maybe the employees and the other backers offered too much and confused the Aspers.

  4. bob says:

    “Canwest cannot assume the risk for costs that may be incurred” under the proposed employee-owned model, John Douglas, vice-president of public affairs, said from Winnipeg. “That includes operating losses, replacement services and other costs” associated with the station.


    However, the station had no advertising or programming in place beyond Monday, which would have led to huge startup costs. “The losses would be significant … in the millions,” Mr. Douglas said, and the parent company was not prepared to absorb debt. He added potential losses to the company were not in the initial proposal and that was the basis for not accepting the employee offer.

    The CRTC would take “several months” to transfer the licence, a period that Canwest would be on the hook for debt incurred, Mr. Douglas said.

  5. Jean says:

    Absolute corrupt media and government. You can’t be in bed with Campbell AND sell CHEK to some reporters and staff that may be able to do their jobs FINALLY. When Campbell signed the P3 on the RAV line and put us in debt for another 50 years or more, he had Trans Link shut down the few direct buses we, Surrey (south), had, going directly to Vancouver. There is a large senior population here and in White Rock who were forced to give up their yearly evening entertainment to insure Campbell’s P3 RAV BAD deal. It is a much longer trip and also involves 2 – 3 transfers, much too dangerous for seniors out at night in B.C. and Hogg as usual did nothing except get ‘demoted’ by his boss with no loss of his huge salary. See the pattern here?? IMO of course. (Edited..ho)

  6. Henri Paul says:

    With the amount of corporate welfare being doled out to auto makers G.M., Chrysler, Bombardie, from the Governments,it was to be expected that gratuitous would also be handed out for the Corporate TV Companies ( all two of em). Why sell CHEK,shite Cant-west will simply go to the CRTC with both hands out now instead of one , they’ll make more money doing with less, just as the gas companies and hydro are doing. If I can have my way there will be no support what so ever for these hogs at the public trough, along with the rags they call news papers which, incidentally I have not supported or purchased for 6 years now. And Bloody proud of it.

  7. d-o says:

    I’ve heard that a lot of Canwest’s actions in Victoria were tied to the value of the CHEK land… estimated to be around $2.5 m. To sell/develop it would give it a sweeter payday, no doubt, and the citizens of Victoria/the Island will have another 7-11 to turn to when it comes to picking up their news!

  8. Paul says:

    Mr. Oberfeld

    You have hit not only the proverbial nail on the head but at every turn tightened the screws on CanWest’s excuses.

    Watch out Harv the way the federal government is handing out seats in the senate in a “non partisan” way (you’re right I couldn’t get that out with a straight face) Stephen may soon be calling.

    Keep up the great work Sir!

    (Response: Sorry… I don’t qualify for a Senate seat: I asked politicians tough questions. 🙂 h.o)

  9. Dan R. says:

    I see there was a last minute reprieve according to the province due to a last-minute extension to stay on air as local investors seek to buy it. [url=]Here[/url]

    Hopefully it does stay on the air. 2.5 million may not be as much as Global wanted but it is better than getting nothing. Hopefully this new deal goes through.

    It would be a shame for this station to close permanently…

  10. genuine says:

    The hst was part of the deal campbell made with harper,when he came here before the election to push the now defunked nevergreen line,just a coincidence bennett was promoted? Read between the lines.

  11. Laurie says:

    If Canwest abandons it’s CHEK licence, cannot anyone then apply for that empty broadcast spot. Remember that the CRTC primary function is to assign the limited wavelenghts to the “many” who want them, not to determine content, a role they assumed for themselves.

    (Response: It has already happened. Canwest has sold the station to its former employees, who are now up and running it as a private station. Let’s wish them great luck! h.o.)

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