Broadcasters’ group shuts down

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters, a lobby group for television and radio stations, is shutting down this June, the victim of the ongoing war between cable broadcasters and over-the-air broadcasters. Both are fighting before the CRTC, and cluttering up the airwaves, over whether cable companies should charge us, the consumer, with fees to carry the over-the-air companies (CTV, Global, CBC). It’s a bit rich that the CBC would get a cent, given that we’re already paying close to a billion annually for it. Anyway, CAB is gone, and likely not to be missed by many.

Globe and Mail, February 25 2010

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Toronto Star/CanWest merger? Well, no.

Interesting oped piece in the Globe  putting forward a merger between CanWest and the Toronto Star. It’s worth a look, but I’m still of the opinion that the best thing to do with the CanWest dailies is break them up and let them be community focused (though I like the notion of CanWest rejoining CP). A counter argument comes from a Star blogger.

Globe and Mail, Feb. 19 2020

TheStarblogs, Feb. 19 2010

If you enjoy a rant….

… then you’ll enjoy a collection of rants. This from deadspin.com. Topic: NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, particularly what it chooses to broadcast live, and how much tape delay there is. Interesting; I thought NBC poured millions into research of coverage of the Beijing Olympics to figure out who to deliver what content on what platform, but they still seem to be stuck in traditonal TV broadcast mode: we’ll show the best story in primetime, and who cares what the results are, as long as we’ve got a heartwarming story to tell.

Deadspin, Feb. 17 2010

Media coverage of Olympics deeply conflicted

It’s always interesting watching the media cover itself. They are hypersensitive, prickly and deeply conflicted by the nature of media sponsorships. So, today’s Globe has a Stephen Brunt sports column pointing out that criticism of luger deaths, malfunctioning Olympic flames, inept judging, bad ice etc. are all quite legitimate comments. Meanwhile, the front page has a column by Gary Mason saying it’s not really all that bad, and maybe perhaps media groupthink is taking place. I like the take from Georgia Straight occasional columnist David Eby, who points out the problems and perils  of media outlets who are official sponsors of something trying to provide objective coverage of the thing they are sponsors of, and usually ending up like the Globe: it’s bad, but it’s not really.

J-Source, February 16 2010

NDP slams Shaw’s bid on Global

It’s nice to see that media concentration in Canada is getting some attention from the political level. Arcane rules against foreign ownership make it very unlikely that anyone other than Canadian big business can buy an entity like Global. Bay Street is equally cautious, noting that Global is a high risk investment. Still, it’s only $65 million, which is chump change for a highly regulated monopoly. Here’s some advice to the new owners of Global TV: if you want to make money off this, why not put stuff on it that people actually want to watch? And that includes stuff happening locally.

Toronto Sun, Feb. 14 2010

Ack! No! A thousand times no!

So, the Report on Business says that Paul Godfrey is looking at bidding on the CanWest newspapers. Good. Maybe responsible management can save them. But this quote kills me:

“The group also includes at least six top CanWest executives willing to run the operation if the bid is successful. “If you take the list of 10 top executives … at least six or seven of them are there,” said one source familiar with the proposal.”

Good grief. Fire the entire board and executive suite, which ran the company into bankruptcy and saw its stock price plummet from $23 a share to $.23 a share before being delisted because it was, well, bankrupt. Can’t anyone see this emporer has no clothes and shouldn’t be rewarded for the dire strait this company is in? Please, Jimmy Pattison, buy it all, then whack all the deadwood. And slash, don’t slice.

Report on Business, Feb. 10 2010

Canwest not paying bills

Attached is a story about how Canwest is not paying freelancer writers, except after some duress and arguments with the court. I also know a guy in Regina who took a package from Canwest from their most recent round of layoffs and was advised he could have it lump sum or over several months. He chose several months. Bad choice: he got a letter saying Canwest was broke and he wasn’t getting anything more. I’m not a bankruptcy expert, but shouldn’t there be some simple human consideration for those who suffer from dumb management?

CBC, February 9 2010