By Harvey Oberfeld
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!
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”.
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.