Corus Cuts Again … As On-Air Experience Gives Way to Corporate Ties in Canadian Broadcasting.

The bean counters are now in FULL control of broadcasting and media in Canada … and are on a new rampage!

The Puget Sound Radio website has reported more cuts at CKNW,  only weeks after more dwindling ratings …  but ironically, NOT one of those let go is anyone that readers/commenters on THIS blog have said they want gone, when saying what’s wrong with the station.

Walking the Corus plank this week at NW are, according to PSR, veteran news anchors Tom Mark and Terry Bell.

Also at Corus’s CFOX, thrown overboard are on-air broadcasters Neil Morrison and Todd Hancock and at Rock 101 sports reporter Stu Walters.

Meanwhile, also this week, Bell Media, which runs CTV, CTV Two, TSN and several specialty channels including the Comedy Network and Much Music,  announced 120 jobs are being cut.

Also cancelled, after seven months on air, is CTV’s show “Kevin Newman Live”.

Funny thing …or actually not so funny … I don’t remember seeing or hearing or reading about any of these latest broadcasting corporate hatchet specialists telling the CRTC they planned to do ANY of this when they applied for their broadcasting licence renewals!

No, no.

When broadcasting executives appear before the CRTC, they talk about IMPROVING Canadian broadcasting, REFLECTING the community, BUILDING on the proud history of achievements … etc. etc.

And the CRTC … I suspect knowing it’s all crap … go along with the program; require some minor changes … and sign the licences.

The CRTC, for years now, has been facilitating private broadcasting’s bean counters’ destruction of quality Canadian broadcasting. They’ve allowed radio and tv newscasts for years to be so drastically slashed that listeners and viewers have been fleeing in even greater numbers.

Perfect for the private broadcasters!

Because that clears the way for the broadcasters to ask the CRTC … next time around … to allow complete elimination of many local shows, especially news and public affairs  … because, they’ll argue, no one is listening or watching anyway.

It’s all a farce.

All the cuts we’ve seen over the past year or more; all the staff sent packing; all the families whose lives have been turned upside down … are not in the least being sacrificed to improve Canadian broadcasting,  or even help stations stay solvent: it’s about MAXIMIZING profits by providing the cheapest possible “local” product in the belief that enough unthinking, uncritical listeners and viewers will still  tune in … so the stations can continue to cash in with big business corporate and government advertising.

And then, make HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS by running American programming during prime time.

THAT’S what private broadcasting is about right now in Canada.

And don’t expect the Canadian Association of Broadcasters to step up and protect the public interest over private exploitation of Canada’s airwaves:

If you take a look at THEIR website …they sure say a lot of the right words: with a Code of Ethics that actually says the first responsibility of Canada’s private broadcasters is ” to the radio listeners and television viewers 0f Canada for the dissemination of information and news”.

That’s great.

And they go on to talk about their responsibility in dealing with human rights, children’s programs, fair coverage of controversial issues.

God bless them.

But then I read their Mission/Statement: “To serve as the eyes and ears of the private broadcasting community, to advocate and lobby on its behalf and to act as a central point of action on matters of joint interest.”


Look at the CAB’s 2014 Executive Council Board…..

It’s LOADED with vice-presidents of Regulatory Affairs, Government Relations, Operations,  Copyright etc. from the BIGGEST media giants …and only one director  (not on the Executive Council) who I personally would describe as an actual broadcaster.

So I’d bet that the CAB’s  Mission Statement will be front and center … not letting that other puffery stand in the way of any the private broadcasters’ “joint interests”…. and certainly not the public’s!

And with current CRTC in charge of regulating them  … the cuts and shallowness of local broadcasting in Canada will no doubt continue to get WORSE.

Harv Oberfeld

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26 Responses to Corus Cuts Again … As On-Air Experience Gives Way to Corporate Ties in Canadian Broadcasting.

  1. EllBee says:

    This is no surprise really. I remember watching you with that tag”anything to say to the citizens of BC Mr Prime Minister?” The look was always the same. Smirk, and if anything was said it was smoke up the ass. Gotta give credit, but it was a waste of time, especially with lyin’ Brian. It’s been downhill ever since.

    (Response: Not totally … there are still several good reporters who do come up with good stories …WHEN they are given the time and resources to go after them and tell us about it …even it takes more than a minute and 45 seconds! h.o)

  2. harv…. sorry for the change of topic but….. how do the teachers go from being locked out to be later claimed as an essential service.

    (Response: You’re not off topic …because it’s a great question the media should be going after … and maybe they will …now that someone else …YOU … have told them what to ask! h.o)

  3. Lew says:

    I’ve heard poor Jon McComb several times lately desperately trying to extract information from a field reporter and getting, “that remains to be seen”, “that’s not immediately clear”, “we should find out tomorrow”, “good question”, etc. in response. He must be wishing retirement was closer.

    Meanwhile Philip Till, who retired several years ago but hasn’t been taken off the air, coasts along with recorded pieces off the internet and infomercials disguised as news. This morning we got an ABC piece on Michael Jackson, and a thrilling interview with somebody from the Province newspaper about a bonehead contest they’re running to determine who’s the most overrated person in Canada. I found it hard to shave while shaking my head, so I turned the radio off and left it off all day.

    That’s happening often these days.

  4. D. M. Johnston says:

    This suits the government fine, no pesky reporters or news of any worth anymore in Canada as it is now corporate radio.

    Should be a law that in all media, no one entity can own more than 5 newspapers, TV Stations or radio stations. Now that the new national religion is corporate greed, the faithful will cheer ecstatically.

    What we have achieve in Canada is exactly what a certain Herr Goebbels achieved in in Nazi Germany; news controlled by a very small cadre of propagandists.

    Canada is sinking in a mire of corrupt politics; self serving laws that benefit only friends of the government and a bureaucracy that is so corrupt; so jaded that nothing ever gets done and lethargy is rewarded and initiative is not.

    This massively wealthy country has children in poverty a poor “socialized” medical service; delivering poor education and created a new society where status is all important and good educations are severely limited to a few.

    I just found out at my sons graduation that we have two graduate standards: 1) A Dogwood for the ordinary student and 2) a double Dogwood for gifted students who went through French Immersion.

    It seems all sorts of monies are lavished for the French Immersion students at the same time help for the “others” is scarce. Sink or swim is the new educational motto.

    I am nearing 59 and more and more I feel i am no longer a Canadian, rather I am an archaic reminder of what was. The past is a different country, they did things differently then.

    All the media moguls are doing is what the government let them do. The electronic media is now nothing more than propaganda media, selling people things they don’t understand and can’t afford to buy. Entertainment, it is not.

  5. Larry Bennett says:

    Oh God no! Not Kevin Newman Live!!! Sorry, but I only watched it, or its prequel once many years ago, and it was about a young transvestite stripper or whatever as he travelled around Western Canada. I can’t remember the conclusion or message it tried to convey, and it may not have been because it was forgettable, but rather because I didn’t see its attenuation.

  6. 13 says:

    Terry Bell and Tom Mark are two faces I would not recognize. Their voices have been almost as much a part of NW as any of the on air personalities.

    This week has plumeted in content. Every female producer has had programing dedicated to their own life adventures. One has given up riding transit and now bikes to work. Another has been in 5 wedding parties and cant afford another . Every real interview is replayed on every other time slot as though NW is the news itself.
    If they let those two news guys go I might have to see if the radio dial in my work truck cab tune in another station. Its sad. NW has been a part of my life for 40 of my 60 years.

    (Response: You missed another good one: not to be outdone by station elder Bill Good’s fawning, yawning morning pieces on successful senior entrepreneurs, station junior Mike Eckford is about to launch an evening series on …wait for it … successful YOUNG entrepreneurs. I can hardly wait! Will surely be listening …. unless there’s something, anything on t.v. those nights h.o)

  7. Larry Bennett says:

    “young entrepreneurs” – well that likely wouldn’t refer to anyone here. And “successful” definitely precludes yours truly. You’ll just have to get back in harness, Harvey.

    (Response: I’m retired! And if I went back …who would Keep it Real like we all do on here???? h.o)

  8. Esspee says:

    They let 2 announcers go who could actually read a newscast without stuttering, pausing and mumbling. Have you heard some of their newscasters recently? They’re brutal! The 9:30 newscast last night was a complete cluster@$*#.

    (Response: And with such a weak CRTC and corporate CAB … it is likely going to get worse …not better. I’ve already heard from more people in the business who are dismayed …and happy that ON HERE at least, the word is getting out. It likely won’t change much in the short term …but if we keep it up … it just may result in such a public reaction they’ll have to respond or go to almost zero listenership/viewership. Pass it on!! h.o)

  9. Henri says:

    Harve you do realize that likely very few outside the lower mainland are aware of these stations , or have an interest on this topic.
    In fact I doubt even those in the lower mainland have interest or care if these stations fell from the face of the earth. People are by far more interested in this type of medium where they at least have a voice and can offer their own opinions rather than be forced fed crap by some bought and paid for mouth on radio or TV.

    (Response: That’s the great thing about being retired and blogging: since I get no pay, no subscription fees, no income from my blog …in fact, it COSTS me to run it …. I don’t have to care what “the audience” wants to read about or doesn’t. I write about what interests me … wherever it is …and I know sometimes I give great help/support (they let me know) to people/issues who are otherwise being ignored. THAT’S what blogging is about …or at least MY blogging. h.o)

  10. Henri says:

    Your blog has an expense , I was not aware of this, Can I ask you what kind of money are you looking at, with out being specific is it between $1-$100- $100- $200 or higher per year ,per month?

    (Response: Any blog comes with costs …the biggest in my case being the hosting server company, which can be $100 or more a year depending on complexity of the site and subscription term; blogs also come with technical setup/maintenance/repair costs (unless you know how to set up websites/program it yourself …which I sure don’t … or have friends who volunteer their time/help); not to mention the high cost of all the INK and paper to print out a LOT of stuff I do as research and have to keep in print form in case of challenges etc. And just think of all the TIME and WORK any blogger puts into the thing …689 blog pieces in my case so far … not only researching and writing them all but also vetting all the comments …well over 13,000 on mine already … and responses. It truly IS a public service any blogger ..even if someone disagrees with everything they say. h.o)

  11. Jay Jones says:

    I consider the cut and drain approach to be as amateur as amateur gets.

    True leaders…produce.

    Great leaders…produce the best.

    Thus of course the reason for Linden’s first order of business not being to move from using hockey sticks to using toothpicks as a way to help the Canucks accomplish all their hockey goals.

  12. Henri says:

    Thanks for the information and all the effort that you put into your blog Harve .I never considered the cost or as you explained the amount of time and work that is involved, obviously it is a labour of love and dedication by you and other bloggers. Your efforts are much appreciated by many I’m sure.

    (Response: Thanks …not just me but other bloggers as well. And I forgot to mention the stuff we all get from that small but nasty or mentally unbalanced group of people ..that readers don’t see! But I’ve also learned so much too from those who contribute to the discussion, so it’s well worth it. h.o)

  13. kootcoot says:

    May I suggest a topic for you Harvey? How about discussing the lengths that Harper is going to to (inrony)improve(/irony) the health care situation in Canada? After all, he has allowed the Health Care agreement with the provinces expire (3 months ago), has refused for years to meet with the premiers to negotiate a new arrangement and is probably secretly rooting for Doctor Day to win his case that claims rich people should have the right to buy their way to the front of the line without having to go to the USA.

    BTW Harv as to:

    ” not to mention the high cost of all the INK and paper to print out a LOT of stuff I do as research and have to keep in print form in case of challenges etc.”

    You don’t have to print out in dead tree form all your references, you can save a copy (w/link) in text (e.g. notebook) form or document form (e.g. Word) and only print it out if you had to actually defend it in court. For basic backup providing a person who claims you’re wrong with a link to the source is plenty. Digital copies of course need no ink or papre and their is an endless supply of pixels in cyber-space, on internal or external hard drives or thumb drives, or even CDs or DVDs.

    (Response: I’m old fashioned …especially since an old computer crashed and I lost everything on my really old hard drive. So I like to print things out …also makes it easier to have any research info/stats right in front of me as I do the blog. h.o)

  14. Barry says:

    A sign that some media needs a Draino enema: Today a landmark judgement on aboriginal rights that will massively affect BC and the rest of the country was released by the SCOC.

    CBC national and BC, along with Global led with it, doing in depth analysis. But what led the CTV 6pm news? A story about arresting a hit and run suspect!!!

    Made me think Tamara and Mike aren’t reporters, but instead are highly paid set dressing–and about as useful!

    (Response: Don’t blame the anchors …they don’t usually decide what will lead the show. But must say, I have long and frequently wonder why CTV leads with what they do. My own thought is that a newscast should start with a story that WILL affect those tuning in. CTV doesn’t seem to get that….and often lead with a story that affects very few watching .. I believe they lose many potential viewers who click over to Global or CBC to see if something they’re leading with relates to their lives more …and stay there. h.o.)

  15. piker says:

    Eckford’s young entrepreneurs series is basically a word-for-word re-hash of BC Business ‘s 30 under 30 annual special.

    As an aside, any thoughts about what Mel Rothenberger is doing up in Kamloops with his “Armchair Mayor” replacement for the Kamloops Daily News?

    (Response: Not familiar with the Kamloops reference …fill me in. As for Eckford, I certainly hope he won’t just regurgitate it …but will have lots of interesting, probing, even hard-hitting questions about whether they pay staff low wages, give only less than full time hours given many workers so they don’t have to provide health coverage, pensions, dental, eye care etc. Can hardly wait for the headlines that will come out of it all. h.o)

  16. Mark says:

    You have to remember broadcasting schools nowadays teach kids how they can get stories from monitoring twitter all day long. As crazy as it sounds many do and tell people that is how they got the story.

    Stations love it as it saves travel time as the kids just stay in the studio all day monitoring social media.

    (Response: And now CBC has announced MORE cuts and, exactly as you say, greater emphasis on apps etc. to get the news out. I don’t see anything wrong with using the latest technologies to expand markets … but ALONG WITH full and frequent REGULAR newscasts who wants news in more than 140 characters or humming-bird-attention-span length pieces. h.o)

  17. kootcoot says:

    “Today a landmark judgement on aboriginal rights that will massively affect BC and the rest of the country was released by the SCOC.”

    This decision won’t affect the ROC as much as BeeCee. The rest of Canada for the most part made treaties with their first nations that dealt with land title. However BeeCee, thanks to its racist first LG, Joseph Trutch, didn’t, because he considered dem redskins “…..the ugliest and laziest creatures I ever saw….” and in 1870 denied the existence of aboriginal title. So if you think that Injun land claims are a problem in BeeCee, then blame Mr. Trutch and racist rednecks everywhere!

    And Harv as to your crashed old hard drive and losing stuff, the first rule of computers is Back Up important stuff on other media than the hard drive……Regularly. I must admit though it is a rule broken regularly by most folks and in the case of our borderline criminal government who actually has data deleted and destroyed which actually does violate the law, as if the law actually applied to them which they deny, even if the Supreme Court tells them they are in violation.

    (Response: I now understand about backups, but frankly seldom do it and even while writing my latest blog, I preferred to have a print out of the facts right beside me rather than keep flipping from one screen to another etc. h.o)

  18. Larry Bennett says:

    Just wanted kootcoot to know that I ran out and bought me a Washington RedSkins hat. It cost me $30 and the clerk said he thought I should wait until the trademark coverage is removed, when it will be cheaper, but I said I figure they will shoot up in value instead. I also suspect that the biggest collectors will be Aboriginal youth!

  19. kootcoot says:

    “Just wanted kootcoot to know that I ran out and bought me a Washington RedSkins hat. It cost me $30 “

    I seem to recall that P.T. Barnum had something to say about a certain kind of individual and the frequency with which that type was born.

  20. Larry Bennett says:

    Harvey here expresses his new found retirement, as a cherished reward for his years of toil – and properly so. But be you a King or a pauper, it is a time where we are able to review our lives as lived – with less need to be clever and impress others, and at least in my case – it can be very, very sobering; trust me. In our life we have an awful power to say “Yes or No” to our God, or our conscience or whatever regulates our actions. Believe me, you begin to cast about for time to correct your vast deficiencies. The sands of time drain swiftly.


    I’m re-reading J.H. Kunstler’s “Long Emergency…” book, published in 2005.

    He forecasts what American life may well look like after the oil and natural gas show starts coming to a serious end, in about 30 years, reckons this well-known American social commentator.

    He says our Western civilization is based on an ever-expanding exploitation and distribution of cheap oil and natural gas, something he says, is NOT happening anymore, thanks in part to a greedy China.

    But media types across Canada don’t have to wait for the black stuff and gas to run out, because THEIR “Long Emergency”, of ongoing layoffs, have beat that hydrocarbon apparent deadline to the punch.

    As well, it should come as no surprise at the obvious conflict of interest between broadcasters and their government- regulatory doormat friends.

    Each party knows, in desperation, the audience-driven media market is shrivelling up quicker than parched front lawns in the heat of summer.

    And they can’t do a thing about it.
    The implications are vast and bad in a crumbling consumer-driven so-called economy.

    Current and future government tax revenues will decline as people scrimp and save to pay their bills and, thus, more voices and pretty faces will get the old heave-ho.

    This combination of wider-spread financial anxiety and so-called technological “progress” conspire to spread misery everywhere.

    Good luck to those who’ve lost their jobs. They’ll have to content themselves with finding something “completely different” to do next.

    (Response: The inexplicable part of this scenario is that the media giants are NOT losing money: they’re making MILLIONS in profits. The problem is that’s all they see … money: where in the past media owners realized they had a RESPONSIBILITY to provide quality services in local community services and news coverage in return for the huge profits they made from carrying US programs in prime time … … and the CRTC forced them to do that. Now the CRTC seems to have forgotten/ abandoned that part of the equation … allowing TOO MANY slashes for cash and I believe facilitating the killing off of local TV news. SHAME on both the corporate owners and the CRTC…. and the useless politicians who are letting them get away with it. h.o)

  22. Larry Bennett says:

    kootcoot – get back to me on this a year after the trade mark protection is removed, and I’ll let you know how much I have profited. Then again, we are asked, “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Which fits our Sunday conversation. Perhaps that old saw – There’s no fool like an old fool – suites my circumstances more appropriately! That said, any profit that may accrue will go to the merchandisers and not some local tribe who presently lives off the sweat of working people.


    Yes, Harvey, private Canadian media outlets are making money flogging American network programs on “our air” and have been doing so since before I started watching TV in 1953 (I Love Lucy, and other upchuckable offerings…)!!

    So, there’s nothing new here.

    What’s afoot is a case of our own Canadian-brand of the American-style copy-cat “killing” of media jobs that have been ongoing south of the 49th for years now (in concert with the general downsizing of the total American and Canadian workforces post 2008).

    So, Canadian media honchos are along for the same “staff rationalization ride” as their American templates in the hopes of making more and more money from an audience that is getting smaller and smaller (hence my associating this foolishness with the rapid depletion of our non-renewables. What to do about it?).

    Media bosses, and their “interest rate yield” sensitive shareholders, all of us included here especially recipients of stock-market-driven CPP monthlies, are being bailed out by a failing corporate/financial model the length of whose lifespan is to be questioned, but won’t be.

    It is a shame that corporate honchos have such little contact with reality, being so bound up in a contradictory combination of government regulation and bossing bureaucrats around, that there is no hope for the next round of cuttees.


    (Response: What I find totally unacceptable is that …unlike other businesses ..the media make their fortunes off the Canadian airwaves and thus have a greater responsibility to the citizenry than other businesses …and the CRTC are SUPPOSED to make sure that happens. However, in recent years, the CRTC has been too easily swallowing the corporate koolaid ..and allowing private media to slash and cut and destroy local news and other programming …while still MAKING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS in profits! That’s the disgrace …not that corporations will TRY to get away with that …but that the CRTC lets them. h.o)

  24. Sean Ciroc says:

    I came back to Vancity 25yrs ago and I swear when I put CBC on today they still play that same ‘elevator’ music! And the on air personalities sound like my ol aunt Marge from way back!
    Please tell me HO, in comparison to NW which shows on CBC are ok or worthy of listening to in yr humble opinion because I would like to check them out!
    Although NW has stumbled and bumbled of late, I still enjoy PT, JM and SS. Now if there REALLY is anyone superior on air out there I would listen to them – but where are they and on which radio station!?!

    (Response: Well, I still prefer The National to the others, although it doesn’t draw the highest ratings; and when I was working and on the road late afternoons, I used to listen to CBC Radio ..As it Happens. Their local tv news does come off stiff and dull, in the way it is presented, but they do some good features at least get out there around the province …or at least used to. h.o)

  25. MAD says:

    I like John McCombe because he is about the only one or better one who speaks out in tough no nonsense style wether it’s kicking the government’s ass about there abuses of the law in connection with the court cases dealing with the teacher’s and bctf or hitting at the bctf or whoever deserves it. But its sad when Chris Galius comes on. My god i almost can’t take stand listening to him.A journalist, lordee , lordee, has media ever gone down the hillHe sounds so strained and fumbling to actually be critical and tough and to say it as it is and kick butt especially seems strained to be critical of government for wrong doig. We journalists he says. Oookayyy.

    (Response: The standard by which I rate an anchor is “Would people have confidence in him or her and any instructions/advice given after a major earthquake”. Tony Parsons, despite other shortcomings, HAD that gravitas: people would have trusted what he said. Somehow I get the feeling you won’t be rushing to follow Gailus’ advice! LOL! h.o.)

  26. AndyO says:

    Harvey, an interesting 5 minute listen on Jon McComb’s show with Chris Gailis (I wish that guy would have an opinion and not be so wishy washy). Gailis talks about the loss of jobs in the broadcasting industry and trust in the MSM. Funny line, he was implying that non-media bloggers were “the pyjama wearing crowd in the basement”. I hope he didn’t mean you. Audio Vault June 25 3:00pm (39:00-44:00 mins)
    And the Soundcloud file: The World Today June 25 Hour 1 (13:12 mins in)

    (Response: If Gailus said that, he shouldn’t be so elitist: those people sitting at home in the jammies are the bread and butter of TV ratings/revenues. Bet there are a LOT more of them, than corporate execs watching his news. Forgive me, though, but I’m not going to go listen to it: too much more interesting things going on … World Cup Soccer, Wimbledon, getting ready for my Canada Day BBQ …and laundry,got to wash my pajamas! Oh …and one more thing …also writing my blog piece for Wednesday about Shaw and Global TV … something Gailus, as a newsman, should find very interesting. Happy Canada Day. h.o)

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