CHEK Sports’ Mike Walker Booted over ‘Ownership Issue’

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March 2 2015

We’ve just learned that CHEK’s fine young weekend sportscaster did NOT leave of his own volition.  It seems Mike Walker was asked to buy into the employee-owned station to the tune of $4500, and when he refused he was shown the door.  The ownership requirement is a result of the fact that the workers took over the station years ago, financing the purchase with $15,000. from each employee at the time.  A few people such as reporter/anchor Philip Campbell did not buy in and were forced to leave the station. We aren’t aware of how the $4500 requirement for Walker was computed, or if there have been any exceptions to the ‘Buy-In’ requirement.

It’s a shame, because this fresh-faced young man has a lot of talent.

Back in 2010, Tom Hawthorne of the Globe and Mail did a lengthy profile of Mike, which is partially posted below.  Bear in mind this article was written nearly 5 years ago, before Mike was hired to handle sports at CHEK.

Young announcer brings it all to the ballgame

by Tom Hawthorn

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Published

Victoria Seals announcer Mike Walker, 22, in the press box at Royal Athletic Park on July 25. (Deddeda Stemler for The Globe and Mail)

Mike Walker sits in a booth behind home plate, a headset covering his ears, hands tapping on a laptop like a prog-rock keyboardist.

He watches a baseball game, records each play in a scorebook, glances at the computer screen. He Tweets between innings. All the while he maintains a steady patter for an unseen audience following along on the Internet.

“You have to be a little bit crazy,” he said, “to talk to yourself for four hours.”

This has been his life for the past four years, his office high above the action at the hockey arena and the baseball diamond. He turned 22 just last month. He looks like Ferris Bueller but there are no days off.

He has a fancy title: director of broadcasting and media relations for the Victoria Seals. He acknowledges he’d probably make more money this summer by mowing lawns.

As soon as he wakes, he begins preparing a statistical package to be shared with reporters at the ball park. He arrives at Royal Athletic Park hours before the first pitch. Batting practice is a lazy afternoon routine for players but a hectic time for Mr. Walker, who videotapes interviews for clips to be shown on the scoreboard that evening.

Read More Here

A Funny Farewell to Mike Walker from CHEK TV HERE

 

19 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sorry for Mike, but he’s young, gifted and talented and other doors will sure to be opened for him. I really feel sorry for those employees who invested in ownership of CHEK . I understand ads are now going for only $42.00, and get this, No Productions Costs! This isn’t a healthy sign.

  2. Mike is a very talented young sportscaster and I am sure he will find a place where they pay you instead of the other way around. I am actually surprised he had been at CHEK for as long as he had been and not snapped up by some bigger player.

    That being said, I am sure sportscaster positions in this country are hard to come by. Perhaps a look down south? Anyway, good luck!

  3. There of a number of ex-employees who have left and never gotten any money back from their investment. Originally I was told the plan was to have new employees buy the ex-employees shares. But not anymore, the major shareholders keep changing the rules and the employees have no choice but to follow or quit. Mike is very talented, he will do well somewhere else.

  4. Cal, why would you feel sorry for CHEK employees? They were facing imminent layoff and instead they’ve not only been able to keep their jobs for 5 years and counting, they’ve been able to re-hire staff that were previously laid off by Global. Your pessimism is misplaced.

  5. Dave,

    I believe you have taken me out of context. I was overwhelmed with joy to have seen the employees gathered together at the leading of John Pollard in coming to an agreement and taking over the television station. The fact they’ve bought five years of employment, I’m happy for them, what I’m sorry about is this picture is becoming out of focus. Meaning things don’t sound too positive about what is going on, especially when you have to offer bargain basement prices. Granted it may help with ‘cash flow’ but that is only a temporary measurement.

  6. Cal, sorry buddy, I don’t know who your source is but you need to find a new one ’cause you’re just plain wrong. Can you buy a spot on CHEK for $40? Probably, if you don’t mind running at 5 am on a Sunday morning. I don’t know if you’re being intentionally misleading or you’re just ignorant but you should get your facts straight, you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

  7. Quoting Dave’s last comment to Cal, I guess? “whatever floats your boat. Haters gonna hate.”
    That comment really disturbs me. Just because there are opinions being expressed, and it sounds like Cal is somewhat connected? Because you don’t agree with the man, you call him a ‘Hater’ This kind name calling I’ve been finding a lot lately, especially with mainstream media on the left side of the political spectrum. Call someone a Hater, so they’ll shut the f**k up! So much for defending CHEK.

  8. What I heard was CHEK recently ran a special promotion. Not unlike the paper and radio stations have in the past. Some sort of limited number of highly discounted packages to entice new clients. I’m hearing things are healthier than ever at the big SIX.

  9. Frank, I can tell you for a fact that Cal’s source is incorrect. Period. If Cal really knew what was happening at CHEK he would not continue to defend his position unless he has some ulterior motive. I’m not sure why he dislikes CHEK or wants it to fail but he’s determined to perpetrate a lie. He doesn’t care if it’s a lie, he’s going to say it anyway. Haters gonna hate!

  10. Speaking as one who declined to stay with the station at the time of buyout — the statement anyone was “forced out” is absolutely untrue. We were offered continued employment regardless of whether we chose to invest or not, but most of us who declined to invest also chose not to stay.
    Further — to suggest that a buy-in is a requirement for continued employment is also suspect. It could likely lead to wrongful dismissal claims as the idea that someone be forced to “buy” their job is preposterous. If true, which I doubt, CHEK would be in serious trouble. There are likely other reasons Mr. Walker decided to move on.

  11. In a chat with Mike Walker earlier today, asking if he would like to comment on this thread, he said, and I quote “It was my choice to leave, and in no way did I feel pressured or forced out the door. I still believe that CHEK plays an essential role in this community, and I hope that viewers across Vancouver Island do their part to support those who are keeping that vital resource up and running!” [endQuote]

  12. Mike Walker is one of the best sportscasters I’ve had the pleasure of working with; he’s an exceptional athlete, an ambassador for his chosen team and a class act in every sense. CHEK is unfortunate to have lost one of its hardest working and valuable employees. Good luck, Mike!

    However, it is true there is a condition of employment to buy shares in CHEK, as can be seen in this public document: http://www.uniformediaone.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/CHEK-Victoria-Agreement.pdf

    And it is true that some ex-employees are still trying to retrieve money from the shares they purchased as part of past employee/shareholder agreements.

    Regardless of the ups and downs of being a business in our troubled economy, the station is run by dedicated employees and shareholders who deserve our respect for weathering the toughest years of television. Their success rate at producing newscasts is 100%, and the professionalism of any group that can produce that kind of result is beyond question.

  13. I’m not even a sports follower and I’m a grandmother, but I miss him – he is such a personable young man with a charming manner; a pleasure to watch – he made the sports fun! Good luck to him – some network will be thrilled to scoop him up.

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