Tag Archives: CBC

How the CBC lost Hockey Night in Canada

This is a sad story of how CBC lost it’s cash down and part of it’s soul

Hockey Night in Canada

The victors strode into the CBC’s Toronto headquarters at 250 Front St. West on June 1 in an especially humiliating denouement for what was left of the public network’s sports department and its version of Hockey Night In Canada.

Not only had Rogers Communications Inc. wrenched the Canadian national broadcast rights to NHL games from the CBC’s grasp with a stunning $5.2-billion payout over the next 12 years, but the Visigoths were actually at the gate. Part of the ensuing deal, in which those in charge of the CBC meekly handed over the company’s airwaves for free, was that the Rogers people connected to Hockey Night, along with some people hired from rival TSN, would use the CBC’s studios and take over the show’s office space on the north side of the eighth floor – the plushest in the building thanks to the show’s status as the network’s biggest money spinner.

The cash-strapped national broadcaster may have lost a Canadian institution it held for 62 years because it could not hope to match the money Rogers threw at the NHL, but no one was actually going anywhere. The show’s staff stayed put and the new bosses moved in. Hockey Night will continue to be broadcast on the CBC’s stations across the country – the show makes its season debut Saturday night after Rogers officially unwrapped its new toy this week with Wednesday Night Hockey to cover the NHL’s opening night – but the money all goes to Rogers now.

The only revenue the CBC will get is from renting its studios, offices and some staff to the conquerors.

Not long after the Rogers people moved into the CBC building, a notice went up: The eighth-floor boardroom was now off-limits to CBC staffers. If they wanted to use it, a request had to be made through Rogers.

“I’d say weird is a great way to put it,” one Hockey Night staffer said of the atmosphere in the offices on the eighth floor, adding that another emotion has a greater hold. “I’m angry at the CBC for how they handled this. I think a lot of people are mad. They fired 50 people in sports and those are people with families. This didn’t have to happen.”

It didn’t have to happen, staff at both the CBC and Hockey Night say, because they believe NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his marketing chief John Collins were willing to offer the CBC a compromise that would have saved a scaled-down version of Hockey Night for the network that still would have been a significant source of revenue. Those staffers also believe the CBC executives missed this chance because of their failure to recognize the changed broadcast landscape and to see the threat posed by Rogers and BCE Inc., which owns the TSN and CTV networks. The CBC negotiators insisted throughout an exclusive negotiating period with the NHL that any new deal would see the network stick to a regional and national schedule by carrying all games played by Canadian-based NHL teams on Saturdays.

A humiliating blow to the CBC which will have an impact on Canadian broadcasting for years to come.

Who pays for SREDA?

The mayor is off on a trade mission to China.  SREDA points out that they are paying for the mayor’s portion of the trip which is true. 

SREDA and the Mayor’s press release fail to point out that the major portion of SREDA’s funding comes from…. wait for it… the City of Saskatoon.  It includes three members of city council on its board of directors as a result.

To be honest, I don’t care of the city pays for Mayor Atchison’s trip to China or not.  He’s a good salesperson and networker and will do a good job in representing the City of Saskatoon and it’s business interests but it bugs me that we play these games instead of coming out and just saying what is going on.  Taxpayers are paying for part of the trip.

Of course in the process of answering Jennifer Quesnel’s questions about the trip, SREDA CEO said this.  Someone needs to let SREDA know that as a partially taxpayer funded organization, people are going to care how that money is spent.

The Harper Government Assault on Science

Please read Allan Gregg’s amazing speech.  Here is a part of it.

My concern was first piqued in July 2010, when the federal cabinet announced its decision to cut the mandatory long form census and replace it with a voluntary one. The rationale for this curious decision was that asking citizens for information about things like how many bathrooms were in their homes was a needless intrusion on their privacy and liberty. One might reasonably wonder how knowledge about the number of toilets you have could enable the government to invade your privacy, but that aside, it became clear that virtually no toilet owners had ever voiced concerns that the long form census, and its toilet questions, posed this kind of threat.

Again, as someone who had used the census – both as a commercial researcher and when I worked on Parliament Hill – I knew how important these data were in identifying not just toilet counts, but shifting population trends and the changes in the quality and quantity of life of Canadians. How could you determine how many units of affordable housing were needed unless you knew the change in the number of people who qualified for affordable housing? How could you assess the appropriate costs of affordable housing unless you knew the change in the amount of disposal income available to eligible recipients?

And even creepier, why would anyone forsake these valuable insights – and the chance to make good public policy – under the pretence that rights were violated when no one ever voiced the concern that this was happening? Was this a one-off move, however misguided? Or, the canary in the mineshaft?

Then came the Long Gun Registry. The federal government made good on their promise to dismantle it regardless of the fact that virtually every police chief in Canada said it was important to their work. Being true to their election promises? Or was there something else driving this decision?

Then, came the promise of a massive penitentiary construction spree which flew directly in the face of a mountain of evidence indicating that crime was on the decline. This struck me as a costly, unnecessary move, but knowing this government’s penchant to define itself as “tough-on-crime”, one could see – at least ideologically – why they did it. But, does that make it right?

Then came the post-stimulus federal budget of 2012 which I eagerly awaited to see if there would be something more here than mere political opportunism.

It was common knowledge that this government had little stomach for the deficit spending that followed the finance crisis of the previous years. And knowing that the public supported a return to balance budgets, it was a foregone conclusion that we were going to be presented with a fairly austere budget document. That the government intended to cut 19,000 civil servant jobs – roughly 6% of the total federal workforce – might have seemed a little draconian, but knowing what we knew, not that shocking.

As part of this package, it was also announced that environmental assessments were to be “streamlined” and that the final arbitration power of independent regulators was to be curtailed and possibly overridden by so-called “accountable” elected officials. Again, given the priority this government places on economic, and especially resource development, this was not necessarily unpredictable either.

`But when then the specific cuts started to roll out, an alarming trend began to take shape.

  • First up were those toilet counting, privacy violators at Stats Canada – ½ (not 6%, but 50%) of employees were warned that their jobs were at risk.
  • 20% of the workforce at the Library and Archives of Canada were put on notice.
  • CBC was told that it could live with a 10% reduction in their budgetary allocation.
  • In what was described as the “lobotomization of the parks system” (G &M – May 21, 2012), 30% of the operating budget of Parks Canada was cut, eliminating 638 positions; 70% of whom would be scientists and social scientists.
  • The National Roundtable on the Environment, the First Nations Statistical Institute, the National Council on Welfare and the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science were, in Orwell’s parlance, “vaporized”; saving a grand total of $7.5 million.
  • The Experimental Lakes Area, a research station that produced critical evidence that helped stop acid rain 3 decades ago and has been responsible for some of our most groundbreaking research on water quality was to be shut down. Savings? $2 million. The northernmost lab in Eureka, Nunavut awaits the same fate.
  • The unit in charge of monitoring emissions from power plants, furnaces, boiler and other sources is to be abolished in order to save $600,000.
  • And against the advice of 625 fisheries scientists and four former federal Fisheries Ministers – saying it is scientifically impossible to do — regulatory oversight of the fisheries was limited to stock that are of “human value”.
  • To add insult to injury, these amendments was bundled in with 68 other laws into one Budget Bill, so that – using the power of majority government – no single item could be opposed or revoked.
  • On the other side of the ledger however, the Canada Revenue Agency received an $8 million increase in its budget so that it had more resources available to investigate the political activity of not-for-profit and charitable organizations.

Ok, so now the facts were beginning to tell a different story. This was no random act of downsizing, but a deliberate attempt to obliterate certain activities that were previously viewed as a legitimate part of government decision-making – namely, using research, science and evidence as the basis to make policy decisions. It also amounted to an attempt to eliminate anyone who might use science, facts and evidence to challenge government policies.

So much for journalism

For most of us you are either for or against CBC but it doesn’t matter what you think of the CBC, you can’t pretend to think this qualifies as journalism by the London Free Press.

CBC Money DrainCBC bureaucrats, production people, and journalists are feeling a little cramped in their 23-storey broadcast palace in Montreal.

Earlier this month, the federal government asked developers and others for information about the redevelopment of the CBC tower that dominates the corner of René-Lévesque Boulevard and Papineau Street in Montreal.

Federal documents indicate the 1970s-era Maison Radio-Canada "doesn’t provide enough flexibility for CBC technical and office space requirements."

So, Crown Corporation executives are pushing for a $1.6 billion public-private redevelopment of the property, which would also provide its French operation with bigger headquarters through "a new construction on the existing site or a major retrofit of the current space."

The feds have also asked for companies with expertise in "engineering, architecture, and interior design² to propose a full technical plan for a redeveloped Maison Radio-Canada."

The City of Montreal says the redevelopment would also include 2,200 new housing units plus new retail space.

Taxpayers subsidize the CBC to the tune of $1.1 billion annually.

Personally I think the CBC does a horrible job of explaining it’s $1.1 billion subsidy and I know that Quebecor is upset about it but I am not sure that using that term palace, inserting the subsidy line into most of their stories or using a graphic depicting a CBC Money Drain contributes anything or makes me want to take Quebecor seriously as a new outlet.

If I was Quebecor I would be more worried about my mediocre website, irrelevant news channel and editing like we see above and be less worried about what CBC’s future plans are.