Tuesday, December 15, 2015

CHCH's woes sign of a larger crisis in local broadcasting: Globe

The Globe and Mail's James Bradshaw writes:
"An ambitious plan to remake a Hamilton television station as a model for revitalized local news has come undone.
"CHCH-TV, which reaches four million homes across Ontario, briefly but abruptly cancelled its newscasts last Friday as its owners announced that the company that created local news for the channel, Channel 11 LP, had filed for bankruptcy, triggering massive cutbacks.
"The network laid off all 129 full-time and 38 part-time staff members, claiming losses of $130,000 per week, then offered to hire back 71 people to similar roles under a new, numbered company contracted to create daily news. On Monday, it revived CHCH’s 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts with a skeleton staff, whose members have rallied to begin a new, leaner era.
"The restructuring signals the collapse of a vision for CHCH outlined in 2009, but it is also symptomatic of a larger problem afflicting local news.
"The industry has suffered steep revenue declines from lost advertising in a crowded television market. Local channels across Canada are fighting for survival, including those run by giants such as BCE Inc., but independently owned CHCH was supposed to be a hopeful outlier.
"Until last week, it aired 80 hours per week of local programming, far more than most stations. Now, its lineup has just 17.5 hours made locally."
The whole story

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