Media Beat: Bell Radio Closures Could Mark A Big Win For Private Broadcasters


Some backgrounder to the crisis, and which companies are hoping to pick up pieces of the pie.

by David Farrell

Canada Billboard

February 14, 2024

Photo by Jacob Hodgson on Unsplash





Bell Media’s announcement that it is selling 45 radio stations and cutting its workforce by 4,800 people across it and parent company BCE elicited icy words from Justin Trudeau, who now famously described it as a “garbage decision.”

With the Liberals now trailing behind the Conservative Party in the polls, the notorious spendthrift perhaps thought the comment would serve him and his party well with the voting public, but his lack of impartiality also underscores the fractured state of the broadcasting industry with the federal government and in particular the CRTC.

Opening communication between Ottawa and the telco, a House of Commons heritage committee has reached out to BCE Inc. CEO Mirko Bibic and several other executives to discuss the cuts and the impacts this will have on newsrooms. It will give Bell the opportunity to explain the crisis media, particularly news media, which finds themselves with ad revenues impacted by interlopers operating global online platforms and the sharp decline in revenues from customers willing to pony up to pay for content, news or otherwise.

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