Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – CBC to trim 130 jobs in next three months

CBC is set to cut 130 staff across five locations over the next three months. As reported by the public broadcaster, the cuts were announced in a memo to staff from Barbara Williams, CBC’s Executive Vice-President of English Services, who noted that the organization had started the fiscal year with a $21 million budget deficit due to advertising and operational pressures. About 60 of the positions to be eliminated are said to be in news, current affairs, and local. The Canadian Media Guild (CMG), which represents most unionized CBC employees, said 40 of the affected employees are CMG members, most based at the Toronto Broadcast Centre and in Halifax. Kim Trynacity, CMG’s CBC Branch President, said in addition to the loss of those unionized positions, there are job cuts from other sectors in the corporation, as well as retirements and vacancies that will remain unfilled. Read more here.

B.C. Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) President Rob Bye has published an Op-ed in the Vancouver Sun. With the province in the midst of an election, the opinion piece expands on a letter sent to Premier John Horgan in May appealing for emergency pandemic relief for broadcasters, citing a 60% loss in advertising revenue. Among other measures, the BCAB suggested guaranteed advertising commitments from provincial agencies like BC Ferries and BC Hydro, relief from transmitter rental fees on Crown land, extending the provincial Film and Tax Credit to private broadcasters who provide local news and public affairs programming, and targeted labour tax credits. “Broadcasters have a number of proposed solutions, including regulatory reforms and a tax credit for the creation of made-in-B.C. content. But even more basic, we are asking government, Crowns and other public agencies to dedicate more of their advertising budgets to local media and to make longer-term commitments,” wrote Bye. “There are more than 100 television and radio stations from Cranbrook to Port Hardy and Penticton to Prince Rupert directly employing more than 1,100 British Columbians who bring us the news, promote local businesses and host community events. Those jobs, and the diversity of editorial voices, strengthen our communities. If they are lost now, they will be lost forever.”

John Daly & Candis Callison

The Jack Webster Foundation, which annually honours the best in B.C. journalism, is set to recognize veteran investigative reporter John Daly and Indigenous author, journalist and professor Candis Callison. This year’s Webster Awards will take place online Thursday, Dec. 8. Daly, who spent nearly four decades as a reporter with BCTV and Global, will receive the 2020 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award, while Callison is the 2020 recipient of the Bill Good Award, which honours a B.C. individual or organization that makes significant contributions to the province’s journalism community or to a community’s enrichment via journalism. Callison began her career as an associate producer with CBC in the mid-1990s, going on to work as a reporter with CTV Vancouver. Hailing from the Tahltan territory in northwestern B.C., she’s been an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media, and in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, at the University of British Columbia (UBC) since 2009. Read more here.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has opened applications for the Investintech-CAJ Data Journalism Scholarship. The scholarship awards a one-time prize of $1,000 CAD to a Canadian student who demonstrates a keen interest in data journalism. The winner will also receive a free one-year CAJ membership and free pass to the annual national CAJ conference. Students should apply with an example of their journalism work that demonstrates the application of data skills and tools, as well as an idea for a project they would like to work on if they had more data journalism skills. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2021.

 

The CRTC has sided with Bell Media in its dispute with Cogeco Connexion over distribution of VRAK. Back in March, Cogeco filed an application requesting that the commission initiate a final offer arbitration (FOA) proceeding. Cogeco submitted that the rates Bell Media was charging under its previous agreement were incompatible with the fair market value of VRAK, citing “the constant and substantial decline in VRAK’s viewership since 2014” and Bell’s decision to rebrand VRAK, “leaving it with unspecific programming and an ill-defined target audience.” In spite of acknowledging declines in audience levels and a portion of VRAK’s programming now available on other channels, the CRTC selected Bell’s offer. The commission found that while very few customers subscribe to VRAK on a standalone basis, it says Bell’s proposal is closer to the standalone rates for comparable channels Séries+, MAX and Addik TV.

Xplornet Communications Inc. has closed on its acquisition of Corridor Communications Inc., which operates CCI Wireless. Based in Calgary, CCI Wireless provides broadband solutions to roughly 110,000 rural and remote homes in Alberta, along with enterprise clients across Western Canada. New Brunswick-based Xplornet says it plans to build on existing CCI Wireless operations in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan by retaining the company’s experienced team of employees and deepening Xplornet’s operational presence in Western Canada.

Ruralwave, an independent Internet Service Provider based out of Little Britain, ON, has become a subsidiary of Rogers. “Rural communities are vital to everything we do at Ruralwave,” said Dan Risebrough Barnes, Ruralwave’s founder, in a release. “I started this company in 2005 in Brock Township to ensure that the community had reliable Internet. Over the years, the need for our services grew, and we continued to expand our network to service more communities. As we looked to the future and the investments we wanted to make in our communities, we made the decision to join the Rogers team.” Ruralwave currently provides internet services to 2,400 customers throughout the townships of Ramara, Scugog, Brock, the City of Kawartha Lakes and the Municipality of Clarington.

Rogers Sports & Media has introduced All IN, an action-focused program that includes giving a minimum of $10 million in free advertising and creative services over the next five years to charities and small businesses that support equity-seeking communities. As part of the company’s inclusion and diversity strategy, Rogers says it’s using its sports and media assets “to help accelerate its progress and drive tangible actions focused on the diverse needs of all Canadians.”