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Bell Media Quietly Cuts Nearly 50 TV Jobs, Unions Says CRTC Also to Blame

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On the weekend Unifor, the union representing on-air and broadcasting technicians at 17 local CTV stations across the country criticized Bell for its latest round of job cuts, estimated at 50.

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Now, a Bell spokesperson has confirmed job cuts took place, but did not specify any numbers, reports The Globe and Mail, saying “an unspecified number of employees were told last week their jobs would end due to a reorganization designed in part to address declines in advertising revenue.”

Spokesperson Matthew Garrow also told the Globe they were “phasing out” certain sportscasts and high-profile anchors due to “evolving viewer behaviour,” without mentioning any specific names.

“This latest round of layoffs isn’t just Bell Media’s penny-pinching, this one has been directly caused by the CRTC,” said Unifor Media Council Chair Jake Moore in a weekend statement.

“We warned the CRTC that tough licencing conditions would be required if big media companies were granted five-year licences for local news. They didn’t listen,” added Moore.

Remaining CTV local sports broadcasts will be eliminated by these job cuts, which includes flagship CFTO in Toronto, with its local sports broadcast to end on December 27. Other CTV stations including those in Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal have already seen gone off air.

Unifor also says at least 15 TV and radio stations have been affected by these job cuts as well, affecting both on-air and technical staff, including:

  • Ottawa CTV 2 hosts Melissa Lamb and Lianne Laing
  • BNN host Michael Kane
  • CFTO Sportscasters Joe Tilley and Lance Brown
  • C-FAX (Victoria) veteran talk show host Pamela McCall

Some listeners of C-FAX 1070 in Victoria have been frustrated as McCall’s talk show quietly vanished off air and the radio station’s website:

Puget Sound Radio reports five CTV Vancouver Island broadcasters were fired in Victoria, while 10 CTV Vancouver staff were laid off by Bell.

Unifor Media Director Howard Law said “These huge media companies were allowed by the CRTC to grow big and eat up smaller companies with the expectation that they would maintain a high level of local news coverage,” continuing to add “This was supposed to end happily for local news, and it has not.”

Earlier this year, Bell Media also cut an unspecified number of jobs in Windsor, London and Kitchener.

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