Bell Media Shuttering/Selling 45 Canadian Radio Stations
They're also laying off a significant number of people in their TV stations, cutting newscasts (and therefore presenters and journalists).
The company is still wildly profitable, but their profits went down the last quarter, so I guess they're just not making enough profit.
They may have misjudged the political reaction to this move, however, particularly considering that they were just recently given $40 million from the government in regulatory relief. The Federal communications minister called them out, and the British Columbia premier (BC has 29 of the stations that are affected) has called them "corporate vampires". He said (and I'm paraphrasing) that they've swept up radio and TV stations, sucked them dry, and then thrown them aside.
This is the 2nd major set of layoffs from Bell in the past year. Last year, they just shuttered 9 radio stations (2 in the Vancouver area) and got rid of about 5% of staff. This time around is much larger, with more stations going and 10% of staff being removed.
There is a small positive in all of this, however. Most of the programming on these stations sucked anyway (to put it bluntly, it was generic crap). The Vista radio group in British Columbia has stated that it intends to purchase the BC stations, and make them locally focused. But even then, that would take them up to 70 stations in total, and who knows if they'll turn into a mini-Bell.
One of the problems here in Canada is that it's just too expensive and difficult (particularly for a small corporation, never mind an individual) to get a CRTC license to broadcast. You almost have to be a big media conglomerate to be successful in your application.
The other problem is that no one is holding these large conglomerates accountable. They have to make certain commitments when obtaining (and keeping) a license, and yet when they openly violate the rules nothing is done. It makes me laugh when I hear of someone in the Part 15 community being pursued by either ISED or the CRTC. The little guy is easier to go after, I guess.
I personally think Bell should be forced to give up the licenses for all their stations (radio and TV) as a result of this corporate misbehavior. Given them to those that care about the product, rather than the profit.
Well if Bell media has to shutter some stations I hope some FM to open up some space on the dial. Especially in the GTA.
Here's a article I found on it from Radio Insight, That I frequent for industry info.
The big difference in radio between the U.S. and Canada is that Canada has an extra regulatory body, the CRTC, that controls the content of a broadcast station. The equivalent of the FCC here is ISED or Industry Canada as it was formerly known.
You have to make certain commitments as to content before being issued a broadcasting license from the CRTC (you also have to have an ISED license for the technical aspects of your station). You have to tell the CRTC what you intend to broadcast, how much Canadian content will be included, etc. In this example, Bell Media made promises to increase news content, and in particular, Canadian news content. Instead, they've cut it back drastically.
And even though our Prime Minister has stated that he is "pissed off" at Bell, and that sentiment has been echoed by politicians (and the public) throughout Canada, actions speak larger than words. The government through the CRTC has the right to pull the licenses of the stations, both radio and TV, that Bell is keeping. It should, but it likely won't. After all, Bell is a major company with their hands in many economic pies other than media, and governments tend to exist to serve these large corporations, at least these days. Forget about all the platitudes on caring for the little guys.
The CRTC, by the way, also has to approve the sale of the stations that Bell is divesting. They should stop the sale to conglomerates, and encourage individuals and small corporations, or even communities, to step up and take over the licenses. Give them away, if necessary (which will teach Bell a lesson). Otherwise, you're just going to just end up with more of the same, multiple radio stations controlled by a single company.
Radio stations should be owned by those who care about radio and the community. Not solely for huge amounts of profit.
Thank Bill Clinton for ruining radio and Canada followed with the Telecommunications act in 1996. Gone were the independent stations that played what they wanted. So you have the same synthesized pop garbage on all stations coast to coast. Used to be you could have regional hits and in the 50s 60s 70s you could have hit parade stations in one city and another in another city 40 miles away and the chart and songs could be totally different.
A band was discovered because a DJ on one station would play it. Stations had their own record library. They individually had their own program directors.
It's up to us hobbyists now.
@wefr Think of this...the Beatles and countless other bands were "discovered" because a DJ at a small independent radio station DJ decided to play it. Radio and independent stations were responsible for the discovery and careers of so many bands. Rock and Roll was born because Allen Freed, a DJ at an independent station featured R&B and Blues and Do-wop(coloured music)that no other station played and called it Rock and Roll in 1951. The rest is history. The Guess Who from Canada will tell you that their success was because of a small local radio station in Winnipeg. Remember when local radio stations had request shows and took live callers and played songs as requested? From their own record libraries?
The last two lines of Artisan's post will never be. Everything is for big profits, not for the community or the love of it. The purpose of a station is to have commercials, nothing else. Radio can't be like it used to be, thanks to Bill Clinton 10 people own everything in all of North America.
Yes I remember those days of live DJ's request shows independent stations. I started my broadcast career at one of those. Oddly enough it was AM station. I would call up stations as a kid/teenager when they had requests shows a many times. And someone answered and played my requests. I did the same at the station I worked at later when I started in radio. Sadly that station was sucked up into a corporation that owned several others. And eventually automated partially and totally automated now. I do mean totally automated. It's just a computer playing music 24/7. Nothing live on it at all at anytime. I can say at least I was one of the ones doing real radio when radio was real radio. Still don't stop me from feeling sad and shedding a tear or two now and then though.