Keeping it Real…

Keeping it Real… header image 2

CTV Beats Global at 5; Slashes Gap at 6

October 14th, 2013 · 43 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!  A perfect time to talk turkey … in the form of the latest local TV ratings.

And the station no doubt giving the most Thanks this holiday season is CTV.

In recent days, CTV News at 5 p.m., with Coleen Christie, has repeatedly  beat Global’s Early News with Deb Hope: CTV capturing 2.0 Ratings Points, compared to Global’s 1.3. Global still does best on most days, BUT it has lost its once overwhelming TOTAL dominance at 5 p.m.

At 6 p.m.,  Global’s Newshour still leads, but with these kinds of ratings: one day recently, Global pulled  4.4 Ratings points, while CTV captured 2.4 Ratings points.  On another, Global scored a 4.5 while CTV drew a 2.3.   Ratings that close …. quite often now … not that long ago were unheard of:  BCTV  used to trounce CTV by five and six times over in terms of total numbers of viewers, so the current much smaller edge should be of great concern!

And apparently it is.  the station’s new News Director, Jeff Bollenbach, has met with reporters asking for their input. I suspect the real aim was to find out what’s wrong? what should be changed?  In short, HELP!!

What’s wrong?

I’m glad to add my two cents  … having spent 26 years at BCTV/Global when we regularly bashed CTV with record numbers …. and maybe you can give them a few ideas too.

First of all, Bollenbach should demand the geniuses at Global HQ in Toronto butt out! Instead of bringing OTHER Global stations UP to the standards of BCTV, they seem determined to bring BCTV DOWN to their other second and third place stations across the country.  The Vancouver station  has lost virtually EVERY piece of its visual heritage; and now its audio delivery mimics “all the others” as well: those reporter closers, giving their names, and the fact their on Global (Duh!) , add absolutely nothing at that point in the story …except DETRACT from the closing lines, which used to make you think a bit.

And there’s more …or should I say less, in terms of hard news.

Seems to me, Global has become more and more “small town community television” … puff piece news  … reflecting news shows I used to see when I worked in Regina or visited Winnipeg or Calgary: you know, LOTS of non-hard-news, about local community goings-on,  community personalities,  individuals facing problems of almost every variety, lots of  kids-related stuff  and a lot more stories that look like paid advertising features … extolling the marvels of new development projects … incorporating very little, if any, critiques about architectural, sight-lines, traffic or local residents’ concerns.

Go Donald Trump!

Talk about turkey stuffing: the show is too often full of it …literally. Those stories I mentioned above used to occupy the lower end of the show: now they’re right up top … small town news brought to us by small town management.

Vancouver is now a large metropolis with large city problems, large city development impacts and large city quality of life problems … well beyond bike lanes … but I sure don’t get the impression the Newshour now reflects that … or even comes close anymore.  Do they even have a regular City Hall reporter? Just think of all the stories about major issues facing the city and the region, as well as potential visual features contained in each Council agenda package! And not the puff piece kind either.

Of course, I’ve already outlined in previous blogs (check out BCTV in the Media section) my impressions and concerns about the decline in the quality of even what passes for “hard” news these days: too much emphasis on news-on-a-platter … crime, courts, accidents, fires, press conferences, photo-ops, published reports …or simply regurgitating content of the morning newspapers.

This is very unfortunate, because WHEN they do special features or series (Go Jas Go!) they’re quite good … interesting and captivating …and full of what made BCTV so popular: PICTURES!!!

But sadly those are now very few and far between.

Why?  Well, now they seem to have a new problem … on top of the old ones of doing-more-with-less and being increasingly staffed with inexperienced reporters who don’t seem to have much BC historical background or knowledge and very limited creative writing skills.

Now, there is also the need to “feed the Beast” … you know, BC-1, Global’s 24-hour News Channel that has not exactly captured the imagination, nor the numbers of viewers the station had been hoping for since it was launched.  So reporters and camera crews are reportedly under increasing pressure to provide live-hits, footage throughout their day to BC-1 … cutting into the amount of time and effort they can put into  providing a first-rate story at Six.

Maybe the viewers have caught onto that … and clicking away or not tuning in at all. But viewership has indeed DROPPED a FEW HUNDRED THOUSAND from BCTV’s peak years, and advertisers cannot be impressed.

It’s too early to tell whether CTV’s capture of Mike McCardell and Dave Gerry  has affected that station’s ratings; but suffice it to say their back end does seem to be more interesting most nights … Squire Barne’s Satellite Debris on Global still attracting my attention on Fridays.

As for CBC local news, it continues to be a non-entity in the Ratings battle, scoring a measly 0.3 in the same Ratings survey I quoted above. And I’m told some nights their News at 5 gets a 0.0 Ratings score (NIL!!!) … and CBC News at 6 gets a 0.1  ….  how embarrassing!

I can’t help but wonder how Tony Parson’s holds on to his anchor position …. and no doubt very lucrative salary … with such a dismal ratings performance. He’s lucky CBC has access to public funding … because I believe in private industry, any anchor attracting such poor viewer ratings , would be long gone.

TV in BC is in flux.  Times ARE a-changing and so are viewers’ habits.

Earlier this year, Global’s new news director reportedly  said the station would be heading in “a new direction”.

But I doubt the latest ratings are what he had in mind.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · Media

43 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ess // Oct 14, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I stopped watching News at 6 years and years ago. I suspect their viewers are older and probably watch from habit. I get my news via Twitter and radio.
    It’s like the daily newspapers, I stopped buying them around the same time. Their content is old news by the time we read it. The only reason I might be tempted to buy would be to read a particular columnist but, and it’s a big but, the columnists I want to read post their columns on line via Twitter which means I have no need to buy a paper. What is up with that???

    (Response: Newspapers are making things tougher on themselves: they’ve bought out so many experienced good writers and reporters! Seems to me that they’ve replaced a lot of local content with general Postmedia News content …one story fits all across the country … not to mention lots of puff piece advertorials, sometimes not even identified as such. And then they raised their prices! h.o)

  • 2 13 // Oct 14, 2013 at 9:39 am

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Its all about the money Harvey. Im sure that advertisers are cutting back because consumers are spending less. The government mantra has been pay down household debt. Its all conected and when you add bad managment and bean counters and the internet and the fact that news happens and is on twitter before the MSM can put a camera crew on a plane ( or a bus or a bicycle in Vancouver) .

    CKNW does the same schtick. Bill Good might have one decent interview in his time slot. He then will replay it later in the show then Simi Sara reports the same interview on her show as if it were new news. Then their new evening program rehashes everyones daytime news at 7pm. I wonder if they actualy have a budget for sending reporters out of the office and to a news story. Nobody seems to ever break a new story by means of investigation. The only time the MSM ever gets a breaking story is by a whistleblower or via social media.

    Its over for the old school MSM. All they can hope for is boomers tuning in when their windows 95 lap tops start to freeze up beyond repair.

    BCTV has been in a death spiral for so long I doubt that they have any chance of pulling out before they crash and burn.

    (Response: A couple of friends on mine still in the business at a management levels swear funding is actually up, reporters are well paid (not just cheap young hires as I have suggested in the past). That makes me even more worried: they’re paying TOP dollar for what they’re getting???? Reporters without any special creative writing skills, almost no historical or political knowledge …who sometimes can’t even properly pronounce the places they refer to in their stories. Yikes! They should all be hiring more experienced proven talent who know the city, the province and have some expertise in the areas they cover. h.o)

  • 3 frosty // Oct 14, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Bang on Harvey…with the exception of Satellite Debris…you ace it. Funny how it works…when you’ve been in the biz…you delight in watching the big ones tumble, but on the other hand…want to correct the sliders. As correct as you are with your analysis…we “older” folks get just as hung up on grating grammar issues…like, “traffic heading southbound” (it either is southbound or is heading south) plus, those anchors who use THEE instead of THE. One of the inexperienced BC 1 women they’re trying to work into Global’s morning is doing this bush stuff…OH…and their traffic woman’s flapping left elbow!! I feel better now.

    (Response: There, there. Don’t let them increase your blood pressure! The funny thing …or maybe not so funny …is that some of those in charge actually RESENT my delineating problem areas and hate ME for exposing it. You would think …as viewership falls …they might actually think about all the warnings I and others have issued on here, accept and appreciate the advice. Many of my friends at various stations know and understand: the problems are largely because of management decisions. h.o)

  • 4 Dave Chesney // Oct 14, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I find it interesting that neither Global or CTV have really covered the Surrey Six Murder Trial which is a huge story after all these years of waiting. Lack of reporters, tight budgets? Your guess is as good as anyone’s. Dumb ass filler puff pieces they pick up from the wire service. News is really over between 05 & :10 past the hour.

    (Response: They’ve covered some of it, but courts are hard to cover for tv, without being allowed to have a camera in the courtroom. Maybe they should take on that as a cause ..instead of devoting so many resources giving FULL coverage to yet another walk, race, run, bike for something or other. h.o)

  • 5 islandpapa // Oct 14, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I can only conclude that traffic reports, who shot who(known to police) overnight, followed by what bridge is jammed , concluding with “what about those canucks” equates with high viewer ratings. Those that produce and pay for these news casts(?) must look at the ratings and realize that spending more than ten seconds on any story is bad for ratings. Keep it fluffy.
    Even though it makes me a “0”, I like a little depth and substance and will continue tuning into CBC when I want some TV news(not often).

    (Response: Well, if it brought them higher ratings, it would shut me up… briefly. But the numbers are DOWN overall …TV viewers care tuning out local news … it’s only that the shares of the pie are shifting …towards CTV and away from Global. I suspect many are just getting bored with Global and trying to find something different CTV (Steele on your side, Dave Gerry, McCardell. Time will tell whether they hold them and even grow. h.o)

  • 6 Heartlands Teacher // Oct 14, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I very rarely watch the news anymore. For a self-confessed news junkie, this has been a tough transition. It ended for me after this last election. The BC Liberals should have lost. The BCNDP are partially responsible, yes, but much of the blame can be laid at the feet of the MSM.

    The government has been able to get away with just shy of murder, and not a peep from TV or print media. Sure, every once and a while we get a hard hitting piece from Jas Johal, but for the most part, nothing. In my opinion, Global has been the worst (although not by much). I just can’t stand the “presstitution” anymore.

    I’ll admit as well, that my sphincter closes every time I hear a mispronunciation, a grammatical feux pas, or anytime anyone does a live report from the news room. Now, I’m not perfect in the rules of the English language or in my pronunciations of our world leaders, but it’s not my job to be so. I expect more from people who are paid to communicate for a living.

    And it bugs me that all three news broadcasts are running the same story, sometimes in the same order. And It doesn’t matter if hockey has been declared as our “nation’s game”, it should NEVER be a story worth of the first 5 minutes of a newscast.

    Well that was cathartic! Thanks H.O.! You’re fantastic!

    (Response: Ahh! Live hits. They supposedly bring immediacy to the story ..we ARE there! But from the newsroom? LOL! We are NOT there …but we want you to think we’re bringing you late breaking additional info … unless, of course, you’ve heard whatever the reporter says hours earlier on the radio. LOL! And an even funnier story re livehits: my chats with Tony were apparently very popular with viewers … the station had me doing them whenever possible … until our strike. As union spokesman, I was asked what we thought about tony crossing our line on the very first day: I basically said he had lied to us before the strike, telling many of us he would not. Perhaps because the station had a plan to broadcast from Victoria? But that fell through because the union there refused, so they tried to keep the Newshour on air in Vancouver, and Tony crossed. I spoke up when asked ..and Tony was not amused! By coincidence after the strike our chit chats ended (except for election nights) …no more Newshour chats until I retired eight years later! Now the punch line: some union friends wanted to grieve this but I made sure they did not! Thankfully, I had no great ego desire to do them …my stories spoke for themselves … and without having to stay on scene , or in the NEWSROOM, to chat with Tony on the Newshour getting home at 7 p.m. or even later, I was able to leave as soon as my story was done..getting home by 4 or 5 or sometimes even earlier! I loved that. Some punishment! LOL! h.o)

  • 7 OldIslander // Oct 14, 2013 at 11:22 am

    The news today seems to be more about what ‘might’ happen, rather than what actually happened. Everything is about fear-mongering. We’re warned every night that if the ‘dire thing’ happens, we’re in big trouble.

    The weather gets big time now in the news. If the spring and summer are wet & rainy, farmers’ crops will fail. Rivers will flood. Tourism is down. Government assistance will likely be required.

    If the spring and summer are hot & dry, the province is going to burn up in fires, and our reservoirs will dry up. Rivers will flood (yes, in hot or wet weather…). Government assistance may be required. We will be warned repeatedly, not to lock our children and pets in cars with the windows up. At the first rain forecast after a long dry spell, we are warned of all the crashes about to occur on wet pavement.

    If snow is forecast, there will be ten minutes of snow video from previous years. We will be warned of all the crashes about to occur on slippery streets. The manager of the local snow plow fleet will be interviewed beside a pile of salt. The manager of a tire dealership will be interviewed – they are running out of snow tires. If it does actually snow, there will ten minutes of video of the new snow, cars slipping, kids building snow men, sledding, etc etc etc. After all, none of us have ever seen snow before.

    They could run these same stories year after year, using the same copy and video – just change the names and dates. I guess all this brainless pabulum is cheaper to produce than real news.

    Every night, human suffering and misery will be exploited to the fullest – funerals, memorials; victims and family interviewed until someone cries. They will revisit the saddest stories many times, to take maximum advantage of this.

    We tape it and watch maybe 10 to 15 minutes of actual news, out of the full hour.

    (Response: Yes, about 15 minutes of actual hard news … on a good day. Weekends sometimes less! I sometimes feel guilty I am bored or not that interested in those human interest stories that matter a lot to individuals/families involved, but not the other 200,000 to 300,000 watching. Why? Because there are just too many ..what used to be as touching break from real news, is now too often THE news. so the impact is now lost most of the time. h.o)

  • 8 212Degrees // Oct 14, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Pet peeve; both global and CTV have designated the last portion of their shows to a venture into the culinary world with guest chefs and in recent weeks, to wine tasting and cocktail mixing. How is that news. Perhaps the “news hour” should be relabeled “arts and entertainment” and the final half hour moved to the food channel. By the way, isn’t it time that, although she is is no doubt a lovely person, that Deb Hope is replaced by someone that can read a telecaster beyond the third grade level? Just asking.

    (Response: It’s all fluff! Used to stuff shallow tv news shows. h.o)

  • 9 randy // Oct 14, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I have watched Global News for as long as it has been global and before that BCTV since we got TVin the early 70’s. However I have not turned it on since May 14. I have never until this past election voted NDP. In desperation to get rid of this band of liars and thieves I did vote for them. I blame their loss partly on the shameless pandering of the MSM to this thieving liberal government and cannot bring myself to support them any more, radio, newspaper or TV. Besides, living in the Chilcotin do you think Vancouver’s rush hour traffic problems really concern us or qualify as provincial news?

    (Response: Even in Vancouver, if you’re at home, do you really care that the same roads that are busy every day are busy that day…maybe even more because of an accident. And if you’re IN traffic, how are you watching tv to know? Surely that’s a job best done by radio! h.o)

  • 10 Joseph Planta // Oct 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Maybe it has to do with CTV having a better lead in, Ellen, as opposed to Global’s Young & the Restless?

    (Response: Lead ins can be important…. esp in this case for the 5 p.m. shows. But it doesn’t explain the huge drop in numbers at 6 p.m. on Global…I hear they are down 200,000 viewers from their heyday, despite the population continuing to grow. If they have other figures, showing that did not happen, I’d be happy to publish them. In fact, I invite ALL the stations to send me their ratings regularly: we could do a monthly update for readers! h.o)

  • 11 luigi // Oct 14, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Talking turkey now, watching Deborra Van Der Gracht (now Hope) deliver a “newscast” is like watching Martha Stewart bake cookies on Prozac. Even in her best days at BCTV, Deb always came across as a smiley, giggle person best suited to sitting in a story circle telling tales to kindergarten kids. And she is well past her best before date.
    If a person can stomach it, watching their 5 right through their 6 is like watching two amateur shows packaged around a professional product, which of course would be the Global national at 5:30. Hope’s show is a bust, and Gailus resembles a Ken doll who is lacking in substance. And, if what you watch for is NEWS content, they no longer have it. Relevant stories are skimmed over or missed completely (by design when looking at the political stories thast show Clark in a bad light? One wonders).
    And while I understand that serious health/poverty/tragedy issues are huge to the people suffering through them, it has come to the point now wheere EVERY Global cast that one can stomach watching is bathed in these stories to the point they are having little of the effecvt the reporter was likely looking for in telling the story.
    As is the case with the newspapers, people really aren’t getting their money’s worth in supporting this product.

    (Response: I’d bet there are a lot of viewers…or former viewers …who share your opinions. I’ve heard them before … on my blog and when just meeting people in stores etc., especially the part about the daily “sufferer” item. I always feel bad for them …like the guy recently who couldn’t walk and did a race in a wheelchair being pushed by friends. Very touching…but is that news? I’ve seen people at almost EVERY walk, run for charity being pushed in chairs: great to see them do that; I feel good for them …but is it news?? The declining ratings seem to indicate “NO”. h.o)

  • 12 Jay Jones // Oct 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I regularly change the channel no more than 10 minutes into TV news broadcasts for the same reason I regularly remove garbage from my home.

    Assaulting my senses with a bunch of rubbish is of no interest to me.

    (Response: Some days I’d wonder how you even made it through 10 minutes! Esp on weekends. h.o)

  • 13 AndyO // Oct 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm


    I think I lost interest in Global BC years ago when the lead story for the day was the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Steve Darling must have spoken for at least 5 minutes on the morning show like nothing else happened in the lower mainland let alone BC. Then Ian Haysom, Global BC’s then news director, who had an op-ed in the Victoria Times Colonist wrote justifying putting this story as a lead. I guess he got a lot of letters from people questioning their judgement. It’s sad when people in that position has to justify what they do. I watch CTV now.

    (Response: I’ve always felt the top story should be something that affects almost everyone and, frankly, I still think Global is better at that than CTV, who seem to lead with a lot of “individual” type stories, esp if they have an “exclusive”. I too click from one to another…and ALWAYS stay on the station that has a TOP story running that affects ME, or the city or province as a whole not somebody else’s personal problem. May sound selfish, but I’d bet MOST viewers watch that way …and CTV doesn’t yet seem to understand that as well as Global does. h.o)

  • 14 Terry M // Oct 14, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the morning news on Global, but on reflection I realize there is no news on Global in the morning. I quit watching it years ago because I couldn’t stand Darling Steve and his entertainment tonight show for a solid 3 hours. What news they had was rehashed every 15 minutes. Is it still on?
    I quit watching the news in the evening because no one deals with anything that requires hard questions of anyone in the Clark government.

    (Response: There are many hard questions that could be asked …quite often … but who’s going to ask them for Global? My own view is Baldrey is actually quite brilliant, as a commentator, but as a “reporter” has been there too long, too comfortable, too friendly with those he covers: they need new blood …but maybe are afraid to rock his boat or are too cheap to spend the money to move someone over there and him to Vancouver. h.o)

  • 15 D. M. Johnston // Oct 15, 2013 at 7:20 am

    I watched Global last night, the first time in a long while. The news was generic, but the presenters were, the only word that comes into my mind, embarrassing, a bunch of 40+ women, giggling trying to act like teenagers. BIG TURN OFF.

    The silly banter just not made the news ‘cheap’, it was painful to watch. I will not be watching Global again.

  • 16 Irvin Taylor // Oct 15, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Hello Harvey. Excellent piece on Global news, having been a loyal watcher since CHAN days i recently sent an email to them announcing my departure as a 5and 6 news watcher, mostly for the reasons you said. I have swicthed to CTV. I agree where are the reporters, i did not always agree with you and other hard nosed reporters but you/ they always asked and probed for the answer. As Bob Dylan sang the times they are a changin. For the worst,in my opinion.

    (Response: Clearly, judging by their numbers, many people have been turned off and tuned out. And the slide has been going on for years. So the question is …what are they doing about it? So far, doesn’t look to me like bringing in a News Director from Calgary to run a big city Vancouver newsroom is making the product better. h.o)

  • 17 Sean Ciroc // Oct 15, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Another great piece! HO this is where I get my local news!
    I was watching some prerecorded shows this past week and was flicking between recordings when gosh behold there was a news flash break on Global I think ….. ‘Tune in at 11 to find out why 250 birds died ….. etc’

    Well I waited all nite till 11 ……… RIGHT!

    (Response: Gee …Don’t count on ME for news! I’m retired as a reporter. But I’m glad you like rants and raves and I hope, with the help of all the commenters on here, we DO have messages for the media managers and often the politicians as well. And I really believe they ignore us at their peril. h.o)

  • 18 rainclouds // Oct 15, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Pretty much nailed it.

    Shilling for advertizers IE Real Estate, vacuous banter by the interchangeable inane “celebrities” of TV News.Way to much fluff!

    Very little actual content. When I watch and it is rare, CBC is my choice. Takes only .5 of an hour which is plenty of time to include anything relevant happening, (given the apparent lack of budgets to cover in depth stories that may run over several weeks or months)

    Jack Webster is spinning in his grave.

    (Response: CBC is interesting. Not sure why I … and so many others who always catch The National … don’t watch it for local news. I tuned it in the other night , and apart from Sarah Galashin’s total confusion over cable tv choices, actually enjoyed it with Ian Hanamansingh … then went to Global National at 5:30 ..and when I tried to go back to CBC at 6, with Tony, too past prime, so found myself clicking back to Global and CTV and staying with those two, clicking back and forth. h.o)

  • 19 Merv Adey // Oct 15, 2013 at 10:18 am

    It’s not the anchors. I think Tony Parsons is a fine professional anchor, for example.

    It’s the stories and the order in which they appear. Leave the crime mashup for the second section, compress the traffic report to only a line about a major incident.

    Move the news that is more than a “one-off” for the lead features. That will mean more politics, which obviously is my bias. But I get tired of waiting for all the networks to feature the stuff that matters day in and day out to a small window twenty past the hour.

    (Response: Very valid points. It USED to be that a lot of what we now see up TOP was in the second or third packages: I assume those stories are now up top, because they too often just don’t have anything better. I blame the newsroom managers …who don’t get it or maybe realize that, with the reporters they now have to work with, more in depth stories that require research and background knowledge, just can’t be done. h.o)

  • 20 George Orr // Oct 15, 2013 at 11:02 am

    CRUSADES! You have nailed it. Newsrooms thatr pursue righteous crusades issues that should be in the public interest end up setting editorial agenda, and not trailing after them,
    Cameras in courts… public access to the accounting practices in hospitals… access to Translink decision-making… the overarching role of the port authority… the books at YVR.. the list is long enough that any newsroom seeing the viewer value in this type of reporting could accomplish all the right ends… improve public policy/gain viewers/make more revenue.

    This is a no-brainer.

    (Response: Just recently, driving down Cambie, south of King Edward seeing all those rezoned homes being torn down for redevelopment, made me wonder how much did the owners profit from those sales, thanks to rezoning; how much did the developers make; what will the taxpayers make??? I’m sure viewers would rather see an exposee on that than some of the puff pieces we now get EVERY day! They could do a whole series on people profiteering privately through public policy decisions and changes…. it’s all available through the BC Assessment figures, local realtors, City Hall planners etc. … if they would only give reporters time to do those stories rather than chase the charity fundraiser or lost dog of the day. But then, George, you and I were reporters of the old school… who believed in real journalism. h.o)

  • 21 Howard // Oct 15, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Your relentless and frivolous sniping at Tony Parsons is truly tedious and juvenile. Keep it real (for a moment anyway) and consider how lucky you were to be around when guys like him, Norm Grohman, etc. were key people in generating the ratings outperformance and prosperity that paid the wages for a lot of lesser lights at Lake City.

    FYI, the Georgia Straight released the “2013 Readers Choice Awards” late last month:

    Best Local TV newscast – Global
    Best Local TV news anchor – Global (Gailus)
    Best Local TV sportscaster – Global (Barnes)
    Best Local TV weather person – Global (Madryga)

    (drum roll)

    Best Local TV personality – CBC (Tony Parsons)

    Have a nice day.

    (Response: Well, you are correct, I was very fortunate to work at BCTV in the heyday of Tony, Norm and also a lot of others … Clem Chapple, Brian Coxford, John Daly, Bernie Pascall, Russ Froese, Margo Harper, Jack Webster, etc … quite a formidable team. But yes, let’s keep it real: an anchor’s job is not only to read the news, but to attract new viewers and keep the old ones. When a station CONSISTENTLY scores a 0.3 or even 0.0 Ratings points … that’s a TERRIBLE record and I do honestly believe if he worked for a private network, he would be long gone with those ratings. And when someone is critiquing local TV news performances, journalistically dishonest to ignore that. As for the Readers Choice vote… his name is certainly well and justifiably remembered by many for his past achievements … but it certainly looks like more people voted for him than actually watch! h.o)

  • 22 Hurtlander // Oct 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Are the news ratings province wide or just from the lower mainland? The reason I’m asking is because up here in the interior lots of us prefer CBC for the evening news, Tony Parsons, Gloria however you spell her last name and Shane Foxman come across as being more credible and professional than the competition. They tend to have less useless back and forth chit chat, and the CBC doesn’t cover as many stories that mean nothing to the people north of Hope.

  • 23 13 // Oct 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Everyone has great points and ideas. The only question I have is do you really believe that Global influenced the outcome of the May election. I think that their reporting is no better or biased towards the Liberals or the NDP. You cant confuse the attack ads and the political ads for news stories. The May election proved to me that attack ads work. Just ask Igy and Dix.
    I suppose the diehard left wingers will argue that Global dropped the ball on investigating the Liberals beyond the RCMP beyond the courts beyond the opposition. I personaly think the onus should be on the NDP to make hay from the Liberals mistakes. The NDP ran a very poor and inept campaign. Global did report on that.

    (Response: Personally, as critical as I am of the media, I do not blame any media outlet for the NDP losing the election. For months and months, the news was FILLED with stories outlining Liberal scandals, Liberal failings, Clark’s gaffs and seeming ineptness, and LOTS of polls saying the Libs would lose, lose, lose. Not exactly campaign-supporting stuff! Blame the NDP for the NDP’s loss … a poor campaign, inability of Dix to catch on with voters, and their own extremist supporters who were so vocal opposing everything and anything. But of course, it’s always easier for the losers …whoever loses … to blame the media rather than themselves. h.o)

  • 24 Larry Bennett // Oct 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Well, I can’t ‘not like’ Debra Hope, she’s too much like an old pair of slippers, you know, comfortable. On the other hand, the intense, professional feminist who looks at us through the CBC camera, with the cold disdain (edited..h.o.), is not really my cup of tea, either. But they do follow the strict rule of our national broadcaster and never, ever calls a spade a spade – after all, all ills are the fault (still) of George Bush, and there are no terrorists beside him and the people of Israel, the Brotherhood (those few) being freedom fighters against those who do not believe in complete government control.

  • 25 gb // Oct 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Harv, Dumb question—but how do the stations ‘count’ how many viewers are watching to tally-up their rating scores such as 4.4 for Global vs 2.4 for CTV etc. ? Spot-on comments today.

    (Response: They used to send out booklets people would agree to fill in each day, but now I believe under the current system, the private polling companies have machines in carefully selected (for age, gender, income etc) that automatically record what is being watched, and when the channel changes, minute by minute. How many there are in each city or region …I don’t know. And a ratings point is the percentage of people in a particular age group who are tuned into that particular station. I understand the most important age group for advertisers is around 18 to 49. h.o)

  • 26 SC // Oct 15, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I’m just curious Harvey, what were CBC’s local ratings the year before Tony Parsons joined the team? Were they significantly higher? Is he the reason why the ratings are so low? If the anchor is part of the problem, and CBC at one point was doing considerably better, shouldn’t the anchor that has been at the same anchor desk for approximately 20 years, that being Gloria Macarenko get the boot for declining ratings, since it was primarily on her watch? After all, would anyone be in the chair at a private network if they were anchor/co-anchor of a sinking ship? My guess is no.

    I think CBC is still suffering from the budget cuts the local news took in the 2000s. There was also, IMO, a boneheaded moves by CBC, when they sidelined Tony on election night, and when they decided to run adverts in the papers promoting the CBC News BC anchor team, they send half of the team (Gloria) to anchor on CBC News Network in Toronto for a month, leaving Tony solo, and again, for some reason, he’s been solo anchoring for the last month as well (she still appears to be an employee).

    Sorry for the long-ish post, I haven’t even touched on Global/CTV yet… perhaps another posting later.

    (Response: I don’t recall that they were higher… but certainly in private broadcasting, when you hire a big name, at no doubt a big salary. you should expect to see pretty good return on that investment with substantially increased viewership. Certainly doesn’t seem to have happened, but maybe at the CBC , like BC Ferries and BC Hydro (LOL!), pay doesn’t necessarily have to reflect results…. since it’s public dollars, not private investors’ bucks, that’s being spent. h.o)

  • 27 Larry Bennett // Oct 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I find your editorial decisions somewhat bewildering when considering that both you and others here think nothing of associating a certain politician to Adolf Hitler, or at the very least,
    by way of referencing him as “Herr Harper” thereby reinforcing some fascist tendencies. Now I am not arguing your right, or not, to do so – it is your blog- but by pointing out the moral inconsistencies.
    It has been noted that various words grant keys to the precincts of the mind. It is assumed, I think, that I am associating some female anchors at the government owned (taxpayer funded) network – the CBC – with an animal – to wit, a dog. But many women refer, regularly, to men – all men – as pigs. All this to general concurrence and even – fanfare.
    Isn’t this somewhat like saying that Hugo Boss is a Nazi because he designed the S.S. uniform?
    Or perhaps the supposition that fruit flavoured Life Savers have some connection to fruit – or even to saving lives – Just saying ….

    (Response: Readers of this blog will notice I try very hard to allow people to express themselves, even though I find name calling rather a puerile affectation and I believe it lowers the level of the good conversation and discussion many others are trying to have. So you can use Herr Harper of Comrade Dix if it excites you to do so, but understand quite clearly, there IS a limit and in 2013, when you refer to a woman by the “B” word, you cross the line least my line … and I won’t have it. h.o)

  • 28 Larry Bennett // Oct 15, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Like many here, I still get most of my news from the Press, the inky one, not the electronic one; you know, the pushy guys who used to have a “press” card in the hatband of their fedora!
    Mike Pearl (40 years at the New York Post) said newspapers used to be staffed by men who rode the subway and trusted their own judgement. Now papers have focus groups to see what they should write about.
    From T.V. news we continue to be instructed that rioting thugs are reacting to the middle class’s indifference to their plight. Back in 1992, Arthur Oches Sulzberger, chairman and CEO of the NYT – “We have to find a way not to judge talent, by the traditional white-male standard”- and the circulation of newspapers everywhere continues to decline. Truth is, few young men (of any colour), now have the attention span of a gnat, nor the interest or ability to read and absorb anything longer than a paragraph.

  • 29 Norm Farrell // Oct 15, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    George Orr got it right above. Reporters should be digging for stories and setting news agendas, not reading press releases delivered by armies of political and commercial flacks.

    Digging deeply into records systems is difficult and time consuming, more difficult than rewriting a supplied handout and hitting the golf course. That’s the sort of work we get from a few media “stars” who thumb their noses at bothersome codes of ethics.

    Precious few now active in pro media do any heavy lifting. But then, they’re bosses don’t want any. If they did, they’d employ people like Bob Mackin to test the patience of FOI officers in Victoria.

    I say again that the first tool of a news hound today is a PVR. You can buzz through an hour long newscast in a handful of minutes and miss nothing of importance.

    (Response: Except at 6 p.m. I’m often PVRing Piers Morgan or Border Security or Comedy Central: come to think of it, maybe I should break my old habit and reverse my practice! h.o)

  • 30 Mike // Oct 16, 2013 at 8:01 am

    I’ve watched Global and flipped over to CTV from time to time, and I think that overall the quality of CTV’s on air presentation is so much higher than Global’s. The music and the graphics are more professional, and there are far fewer technical glitches.

    (Response: I agree. Although frankly, I find Tamara a real lightweight. Technical glitches at Global certainly seem to happen more often… I believe due to their computerization/master control changes: sometimes I feel sorry for Gailus …and sometimes I laugh out loud …not good for a newscast. h.o)

  • 31 r // Oct 16, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Have you looked at channel 36 BBC
    and 505 RT(Shaw).
    Maybe they should watch and take notes for possible better format.?
    Have you seen these channels before.?

    (Response: I watch BBC and Al Jazeera every day. I wouldn’t expect local news to be able to match their world-wide well financed formats …but they could at least learn you put NEWS up top and fluff at the bottom That’s such a basic formula if you have staff/resources to do enough real hard ISSUE news; but doing accidents, fires, shootings, press releases and court stories as TOP package content is faster, easier and cheaper. h.o)

  • 32 johnnyC // Oct 16, 2013 at 10:27 am

    CTV shouldn’t be popping the champagne corks until they see they actually stole the audience from Global. What I see is Global lost a lot of their audience to other media. That said Global is nowhere near where they used to be only 5 years ago. Is it any wonder the new Shaw sign outside the building is more prominent than the Global sign.

    As for where media gets their news stories rather than investigative reporting I think most of these news kids are now monitoring social media for stories rather than working contacts.

    In a fine example of a blonde moment I heard Simi Sara say the first place she goes to get her news every day is Twitter. A few days later I heard her talk about how bad the internet is with its anonymity. Enough said!

    (Response: True…many people are getting their info from other sources..esp the Internet. But with population growth and a god product, I don’t buy that reason …which is often proffered by executives of failing stations. Huge numbers of people still watch GOOD news programs (The National, 60 Minutes, even local news in other cities) and, even accounting for drift here, the proportionality of the remaining viewers is also changing, and I find that very interesting if it continues. h.o)

  • 33 Bruce Archibald // Oct 16, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I watch APTN news. They dont push the corporate agenda and dont fawn over the right wing parties like the rest of the corporate press. Global is reffered to as BCLiberal propganda network in our household

  • 34 Chuck B // Oct 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Good editorial on Global.

    Our household has been a Global fan for 30 or more years. But somehow, something is lacking today, and I think you hit it right on the mark.

    I was in radio broadcasting for 45 years, and as radio went, it seems Global is going. Radio no longer grabs the listener, and Global is losing it’s hold.

    If CTV got another anchor instead of the weather gal Tamarra, they would do greater damage to Global. Lynda Steele would be a natural fit for the 6pm on CTV, only their heads in Toronto can’t see that either.

    Why doesn’t the West control the stations? Why the East? Why have we allowed it?

    Keep up the good posts, we really enjoy them. All the best.

    (Response: Exactly. I just can’t understand why those who are in charge don’t have the spines to make the decisions they KNOW should be made! After all they CHOSE to be management … and there’s more to that than just enjoying the higher salaries and perks. The weak points are often very obvious and, when millions of dollars of revenues/expenditures are involved …not to mention quality journalism … those in charge SHOULD make the needed changes. Or face even more dropping or languishing ratings. h.o)

  • 35 R // Oct 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Maybe this doesn’t help .Like getting blacked out info from Victoria foia requests.

  • 36 e.a.f. // Oct 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I also find I’m tuning in to APTN news more frequently. That is how I find out what is going on in other parts of the country, which are important. Global has little to offer in the way of actual/real/hard news. It operates more as a shrill for the b.c. lieberals. They don’t report on anything of importance in this province. There was all sorts of things they could have done indepth articles on. Hell CTV has a Steele on your side segment which is more informative than all of the Global news.

    If its not APTN and CTV its CBC national on the CBC news station.

    I don’t really want to hear about how many shootings and car acc idents, I’d like to know what the Port of Vancouver is up to. What is being done about the hospitals in B.C., like what ever happened in BBy General with all the infections. What about the lack of schools in Surrey? What is going on at city hall in the major cities in the lower mainland? Has there been any reporting on the GVRD meetings?

    At least CTV gives us some national news and doesn’t sound like the cheer leading club for the b.c. lieberals.

  • 37 morry // Oct 16, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    The problem is that they are no longer in the NEWS business. Global and CTV have lost their JOURNALISTIC way, and currently they are managed by numbers guys…grey suits. If they don’t hire a disruptive force to be head of their “NEWS” department and re-engerize that segment they will all just keep sinking. What they are currently force-feeding their audiences is slop.WHERE’S the MEAT?

    (Response: I sure hope those in charge are reading your reaction and all the other comments on the topic. As I said before, they ignore the public at their peril. h.o)

  • 38 morry // Oct 16, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    …and right on cue… the disruptors are coming.

    “EBay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar on Wednesday said he is building an independent media organization covering news from sports to politics for mainstream readers, spearheaded by big names including ex-Guardian correspondent Glenn Greenwald.

    Omidyar, the 46-year-old French-born Iranian-American who remains chairman of the e-commerce giant he founded, wrote in a blog post that he considered buying the Washington Post – which Inc. founder Jeff Bezos eventually snapped up – but decided he wanted to build a news organization from the ground up.”

    …this will come locally as well , and when it comes it will be brutal.

  • 39 D. M. Johnston // Oct 17, 2013 at 8:34 am

    The media in this province/country is nothing more than a out of date infomercial, as the news is everywhere. Instead of feeding us slop a la Micheal Campbell, we need real news on government scandals and corruption. It is the niche market that is left to local media.

    It is the niche market that will keep the local media afloat.

    Example: The Canada Line.

    The Canada Line is a great success, chortles a NW talk show host; “because there is no cars on Granville Street.”

    Really, is this the very same Canada Line that Judge Pittfield (during the Susan Heyes court case) called the Canada line bidding process a “charade”.

    Is this the same Canada Line, which cost rose from $1.3 billion to now over $2.5 billion, but because the Canada line is a P-3, the public can’t be told the real cost because it may hurt the P-3 consortium operating it.

    Is this the same Canada line with puny 41 metre 2 car trains (compare this with Ottawa’s new light rail vehicles, which one vehicle measures 49 metres long.) and equally puny 40 to 50 metre station platforms (again, Ottawa’s new LRT line has 120 to 150 metre long platforms), which has less capacity than a streetcar, costing about a quarter the cost of the Canada Line mini-metro.

    TransLink puts the capacity of the Canada Line cars at 200 per car, yet Hyundai, the makes of the car, put capacity at only 163 persons per car. Using TransLink’s numbers, inflates ridership calculations.

    Here we have but a small segment about TransLink, that the media never and I mean never report on, yet all we get is puff stories and rehashed old news from giggly 40 year olds, pretending to be in their teens. This province is full of political scandal, but because most of the scandal would reflect badly on the BC Liberals, the media ignore it.

    As I type this, I have been getting free copies of the Province, yet the last three issues have gone into the recycle bin unread because there is nothing, and I mean nothing that interests me.

    Watching Global, CBC and CTV news is just the same, I don’t watch.

  • 40 Mike McCardell // Oct 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm


    I can only tell you that the spirit at CTV is UP, and the people are excited. One last thing, I love being here.
    It is like in the very. very old days of bctv when the logo was lower case and the ratings were sky rocketing. That same feeling is in CTV, and the ratings are doing the same.


    (Response: Hey Bro, glad to see you out there telling those stories! And imagine… “people are excited” and “you love being here” : not something I hear from ANY of my former colleagues at Global these days. That actually makes me sad …because I really want nothing more than for all the stations to do well: tell real stories, first class news and have fun doing it …like we USED to….so the viewers have a quality product to watch and enjoy. h.o)

  • 41 kootcoot // Oct 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    It is indeed damning that the most trusted “news” anchor in the US is John Daly on his Daily Show. This is especially true of the coveted young to middle age demographic. Thank you CTV for carrying it here in B.C.

    It would appear that CTV has dropped the Colbert Report in favor of Jimmy Fallon………not so good.

    (Response: Last I heard, John Daly was still on Global. Do you mean Jon Stewart? I am surprised you don’t know the difference. h.o)

  • 42 r // Oct 19, 2013 at 9:11 am

    costcutter news.?

  • 43 Dan // Oct 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Harvey, I think the problem is that you’re out of touch and perhaps jealous and bitter that you’re no longer a relevant part of local news.

    (Response: Yours is an old trick …blame the messenger, when you don’t like the message. But I notice you haven’t refuted a SINGLE stat (ratings) or audience drop that I’ve quoted. Nor has Global denied their viewership has DROPPED a couple hundred thousand from what it used to be, while other nets have not! And just to exasperate you more… last Wednesday (wish I could get ratings for every day!) at 5 p.m., CTV drew 1.9 Ratings points, again beating Global at 1.7; and at 6 p.m., Global’s Newshour dropped below 4!!! …scoring 3.9 Ratings points, while CTV captured a 2.3 …again NARROWING the gap. As for CBC again was nowhere …scoring a measly 0.2 on both shows. Read it and weep …if anyone is out of touch with reality, it’s you. h.o)