Is BCTV Back?

Wow! What a great Newshour Tuesday night!  It was the old BCTV all over again … great, interesting opening stories … informative, amusing, and sprinkled throughout with those wonderful words that repeatedly brought a smile to my face: “officials refused our request for an interview”! 

Yes!!!  That usually means, for a journalist, that you are on to something!

Gone from the Newshour’s first package were those far-too-often Global BC and CTV police, fire or ambulance-chasing stories that lead me to click the remote. Instead, we had several of those old BCTV-style Olympic “exposee” reports that held me rivetted to  the Newshour.

There was a hilarious piece of how spectators “lucky” enough to secure tickets to Cypress bowl snowboarding events will have to board buses for the events HOURS before the event … and then still hike up to TWO KILOMETRES from where the buses deposit them UPHILL  to get to their seats. And then they may have to spend HOURS through the entire event event  ( in the snow and freezing cold?)   before they can get a bus out!  After hiking another TWO KILOMETRES  back to their assigned buses?  Hilarious!

(And a follow up story possibility: what will happen to the elderly, physically handicapped or those just not fit enough to hike uphill in the freezing cold for two km?)

First aid and ambulances by the dozen had better be standing by! Better end the Paramedics dispute before those events!

This story was followed, perfectly,  by another on the lap of luxury treatment that I-O-C delegates will meanwhile be enjoying … five star hotels and dining, cars and chauffeurs, floor to ceiling television sets in the suite of the Chairman, exclusive use of the Vancouver Club for the I-O-C and their guests.

And then, more BCTV-style revelations that the much-touted “Smoke Free” games will actually have several “puff” zones where the privileged WILL be able to smoke away to their lungs discontent in total contravention to Vanoc’s stated promises of   smoke-free events and venues.

With “No Comment” from Vanoc.  It was great!  It was BCTV!

It was also wonderful to see their “police” orientated stories relegated to AFTER THE BREAK, even though they too were pretty captivating (literally) with superb video and engrossing story-telling.

It occurred to me:  BCTV (Global BC) may be really on to something when it comes to the Olympic Games.

CTV, as host broadcaster, will have almost exclusive Canadian video coverage of Olympic events locked up as part of their BILLION $$$  spending.  They say their news coverage will be independent … but I fear local editors and reporters will fall into line, pumping out all kinds of “glory” pieces about athletes, their families, fans and all the wonderful partying.

BCTV (Global BC) should therefore go for the “gory” side …  hard looks at those stories that Vanoc press releases won’t tout: the behind the scenes realities; trials and tribulations faced by ordinary spectators; the disruptions to ordinary Vancouverites, commuters and businesses.

This, of course, does not mean ignoring the games themselves or the results: but I’d bet news watchers will tune in more to see what is REALLY going on in the city during the events than just watching hour-long sportscasts!   

One of the joys of being retired (really, I am!) is that I will be able to watch many of the events live .. yes, on CTV … as they unfold.

But for “news” coverage, if Tuesday’s Newshour was a sign of what’s come, I’ll probably tune more to the station than does NOT have the Games .. than the one that does.

Harv Oberfeld

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18 Responses to Is BCTV Back?

  1. SharingIsGood says:

    Hello Harv,
    Welcome back! Did the news of CanWest’s fall from Asper’s hands reach you in Florida. I have already noticed a change for the better in their reporting. And, they have gained a sense of humour to boot. The Province, for your viewing pleasure:

    (Response: Thanks… hadn’t heard much about Canada in Florida (surprise!) esp abount Canwest! But a relative wrote me about Harper pro-roguing Parliament…hmm…have to look into that one. h.o.)

  2. the dude says:

    Harvey: “There was a hilarious piece of how spectators “lucky” enough to secure tickets to Cypress bowl snowboarding events will have to board buses for the events HOURS before the event … and then still hike up to TWO KILOMETRES from where the buses deposit them UPHILL to get to their seats. And then they may have to spend HOURS through the entire event ( in the snow and freezing cold?) before they can get a bus out! After hiking another TWO KILOMETRES back to their assigned buses? Hilarious!”

    Ha Ha while Gordo drives by in a limo… or all the VIP’s whom we are paying for them being entertained…

    heee…. Yucky!

    Harvey: “BCTV (Global BC) should therefore go for the “gory” side … hard looks at those stories that Vanoc press releases won’t tout: the behind the scenes realities; trials and tribulations faced by ordinary spectators; the disruptions to ordinary Vancouverites, commuters and businesses.”

    you just thought of that now big guy? C’mon…! this needed be done 4 years ag0 all along that long, long series of broken promises!

    BTW of all the Olympic housing legacy promised… who would have thought the VPD would be first in line and way before the homeless?

  3. Crankypants says:

    Don’t get too excited Harvey. One good newscast does not a season make. They may take advantage of hitting hard on Olympic related stories, but there is a lot of other things going on that are not getting any attention. BC Hydro will not be paying any dividends to the provincial government for 2009 which hasn’t happened in recent memory. Where is the media on this story?

    Taseko Mining has gotten provincial environmental approval for a copper/gold mine on the basis that they will be able to use Fish Lake and Little Fish Lake as their tailing ponds. These lakes drain into the Fraser River, are full of trout, and this venture if allowed to become an active mine will destroy both and most likely have a negative impact on the fish of the Fraser. Taseko has apparently promised to make two new lakes to replace these two lakes which doesn’t pass the smell test. Why not build the fake lakes first and use them as tailing ponds? Where is the media on this story? What is Keith Baldry being paid for? When was the last time he broke a story of any consequence?

    It appears that Vanoc may be fair game, but the BC Liberal government is still off limits.

    Also announced today is that CityTV has laid off their news departments(60 strong) and will no longer have a news broadcast. I don’t know if anyone watched their news, but every time the competition becomes less only means that those that are left have less incentive to go the extra mile for a story.

    Vancouver is Canada’s third largest city, and we are down to one talk radio station, two major newspapers owned by the same company, and a dwindling television component. This does not bode well for the future with respect to the news and investigative reporting. Independents and blogs may take up some of the slack, but their exposure to the masses is limited at best. One has to seek out these sources, and the majority of the public are both not used to this and too busy dealing with their day-to-day living. They need the traditional sources to deliver the goods as they used to, or eventually we will all be the worse off for it.

    Reliable information is valuable, Pablum is an infant’s cereal. It seems to me we are being fed a lot more of the latter and the future is not looking bright.

    Sorry for being so long winded, but an uninformed public is the last thing we need.

    (Response: Very well put. I do wonder whether this was only a brief BCTV anomaly …but I was happy to see it. It was really a breath of fresh air. Sure, the reporting wasn’t as deep and the questionning waasn’t as exploratory as it could have been. But it was sure a nice departure from a lot of what they have led with in the past. And from what I’m told ..CTV has already become a total shill for the games ..with even NEWS people in ads pumping it all up. Will have to check that out! h.o.)

  4. Gary E says:

    Gee Harv, it makes me almost want to put a TV back in the house. Ahh, but then the bundle Shaw would force on me would probably include Fox. So I guess I’ll pass for now.
    Hope you had a great Vacation.

  5. parzone says:

    Hi Harvey,

    I watched global news last night also and the first thing I thought of was….. what are they up to?

    Not being used to this kind of reporting since Global and Campbell hooked up.

    The very next thing I thought was, oh, Global is taking the lustre off the CTV Olympic games.

    But, it could just be good reporting.

    (Response: Actually I think it’s a bit of both. Global and other stations are in a bind, since I-O-C rules/contracts allow only the official broadcaster (CTV, in Canada) to use most of the footage of sporting events. Others get only a few seconds worth each day. So the other stations need to find different angles to cover. Plus, I think that dilemma may have prompted Global management to suddenly realize what it was that made them GREAT in the past: not just doing the same -on-a-platter pap seen on all other stations… but doing interesting, compelling stories, poking at authority, etc. (Ahhh! Memories! 🙂 They still have some way to go to improve their techniques, reporting, investigative work in this regard…but their show Tuesday was a terrific move in a better direction. I only hope it wasn’t a fluke ..or just because the “usual” management was away for a day or a week. h.o.)

  6. Henri Paul says:

    Waiting to see how well or if they report the Intrawest financial fiasco tonight, before I give pass out any praises.

  7. DanR. says:

    I am still on the fence on this. BCTV was great before Canwest turned it into BC’s version of Pravda aka the Gordon Campbell News Network…

    Maybe they will be more balanced? Will the obvious pro BC Liberal bias end? I dunno…

    I find I can get the news much better online anyway.

    (Response: I feel much like you do. I hope it represented something positive …but not too confident yet. h.o.)

  8. Grant G says:

    Yes Harvey….Last night was good news reporting…But, someone must have given them the smackdown because it was all drippy and gooey again tonight!

    Welcome home Harvey….Lets Rock!

  9. SharingIsGood says:

    Here’s a link to a NYT article about CanWest newspapers being turned over to the banks.


    (Response: Thanks. Sure glad those were some shares I never bought, even when they offered them to us at work. h.o.)

  10. RS says:

    Perhaps you were stateside too long immersed in the vulpine news H.O. An analogy might be, after being beaten about the head with a 10 lb sledge hammer, a 10 oz finishing hammer feels pretty good. 🙂

    (Response: No… I know good news stories when I see them. I have no idea whether it was a one time event or signal of something changing there ..but the choice of show alignment and those stories were quite interesting and fun to watch. (Could have pushed more of course but it was a welcome change). Maybe you are so full of bile against MSM that you just admit when they do something well? Seriously…maybe be self critical a bit on that. h.o.)

  11. crh says:

    Today I feel like going into mourning. Mourning for BC. Mourning for the way Canada use to be. After the greedy among us take all they can get (read it on Powell River Persuaders’ blog today-Fortress, Intrawest, Millenium) there is nothing left for the working families. The media is the only link between voters and reality. Media has failed miserably with getting the truth out to people. It is to late to be feeling happy about a bit of BCTV coming ‘back’. It is all gone Harvey. Stolen by stealth by Campbell and his partners in crime.

  12. Henri Paul says:

    RS // Jan 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm
    An analogy might be, after being beaten about the head with a 10 lb sledge hammer, a 10 oz finishing hammer feels pretty good.
    I gotta agree with RS, bile and all.
    like it or not its true .

  13. blaffergassted says:

    The media is all about ego these days.

    “Winner over Dinner” is a good example of how bad it is.

  14. Kam Lee says:


    Wecome back. I wish it was all fixed while you were gone. Not so lucky. Campbell, Coleman, Falcon, Polack, etc, are still all out of jail. MSM is still on their side. Ask B Good, Smith, Baldry, to tell the truth, but (edited .h.o.) their noses are deep up gordo’s tush, they cannot think clearly. Maybe ask also why the NDP havn’t done anything to get to the truth? Its all a sham, glad when the owelipics are over, then the bills arrive, then we can ask gordo the explain everything. BVB trials soon to start, maybe some truth there? Keep up the good work, always a good read here.

  15. patrick bell (NOT THE MLA) says:

    Welcome Back Harvey! We missed you 🙂

    Hey, it was a balmy 14 degrees in some parts of the lower mainland today… ouch

    Great story tonight how the fascist COC is going after a company with a flame on it’s logo….they are squeezing him for a $5000.00 quick payoff….Unfreaking Believable…

    Health Care and Education being hammered right now…..yikes

    (Response: Thanks Patrick. I have never opposed the actual Games and was happy when we won the bid. But I must admit they have been losing me with all the major disruptions that have nothing to do with security (like the removal of all parking on Granville down around 70th 24 hours a day…will really hurt MANY small family stores); the spending of a million dollars on VIP tickets when 800 teachers are losing their jobs; the disgraceful treatment of the Paramedics etc etc. h.o.)

  16. RS says:

    Dear Pot,

    “No… I know good news stories when I see them…Maybe you are so full of bile against MSM that you just [can’t] admit when they do something well? Seriously…maybe be self critical a bit on that. H.O.”


    I wasn’t questioning your aptitude for spotting a good news story H.O., but I am surprised the tongue-in-cheek tenor of my comment was overlooked. Perhaps a winky instead of a smiley would have conveyed my intent more clearly.

    In any event, I didn’t see the newscast you’re gushing over, so it would have been irresponsible of me to question your assessment of the newscast, and I regret my quip seems top have been interpreted as such.

    There is no question I am sceptical of a portion of the mainstream media, but “full of bile”(?) – I’d rather we save that for my impressions of some politicians ? I would also like to reassure you H.O. that I am not, as you suggest in your reply, a parsimonious ol’ codger when it comes to heaping praise where praise is due – I support and am very appreciative of journalism that is hard hitting, yet objective, balanced and fair. Perhaps that is why I have admired your work over the years and continue to do so by way of Keeping it Real…where one can find such headlines as: BBC World: Propoganda as News; CTV’s Junos Junk; National Post’s Criminal Contributor; BC Rail: Media Missing the Train; Time for CRTC to Stand Up for Canada; Good’s Bad Interview with Campbell; Don’t Let “Lost” E-mails Drop; Media: Name the Judges; Liberals Used and Abused Media; Georgia Straight’s Disgraceful Reporting; Media Broadcasters to Carry Olympic Torch; Brainwashing America all of which are critical of the media in some way or another.

    Oh but how I’ve gone on…

    In closing a quote you will surely recognize:

    “I know many of my Blog readers love to hate the “mainstream” media. And I have been so critical myself of their excesses and failures since my retirement, some of my former colleagues have broken off contact (they love to dish out criticism of those they cover, but apparently are quite thin-skinned when it comes to critiques of their industry’s slipping ethics and performance).”

    Keep on Keeping It Real…

    Respectfully, and with tongue firmly in cheek,

    The Kettle

    (Response: Yes, maybe I over-reacted. LOL! But I just feel when a child, or the media … after erring so long …start showing a distinct of improvement, we should all congratulate them and encourage more in the same direction. I haven’t seen the show since, But I have heard Global is still coming up with some interesting Olympic stories. Bravo. This does not mean the MSM if fine but that WAS a bright spot. Time will tell whether it meant anything or was just a momentary lapse into the once so successful BCTV style. And I am also well aware that the blogosphere is full of people (present company excepted 🙂 who deliver Pavlovian responses to certain topics: Gordo, the Libs, the NDP, Harper, Ignatieff, the U.S., Israel etc), which I find so inteleltually boring and immature … so I try very hard not to emulate those positions, despite my own innate ideologies and biases. h.o.)

  17. JDog says:

    BCTV is back! They brought back the “TV for BC” slogan in their recent TV ads.

    (Response: Of course they still have a long way to go to equal the quality of the writing and questionning of the old BCTV ..but maybe we’re seeing a start in that direction. h.o.)

  18. Shaq says:

    Thank you for the link Norm, I’ve already read it and it is a good exlmpae of what we are talking about here. I don’t listen to Bill Good, but I will check out the odd excerpt from the audio vault if one comes recommended, usually to demonstrate something inaccurate he has stated,or for a particularly blatant Liberal push for 2010. I have been reading the daily show lineup online,and it reads like an Olympic promo at times. For exlmpae, today a topic of concern was if Vancouverites are going to embarress themselves with their Debbie Downer attitudes. Besides the fact that Debbie Downer sounds more like a porn star name than an attitude, he has so far shown himself to be so far removed from the average real persons lifestyle and income, that he has now begun to insult the very listeners one would think he should be trying to woo. This may all backfire on him, this blatant Liberal bias, when the 2010 show is over and the reality of British Columbia’s fiscal situation is again revealed by Campbell. What, is Bill going to suddenly start going on the offensive, or will he stay true to his colours and defend the governments actions again? Sal, you seem kind of cranky lately. Have you got your belt notched in too tight?

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