CTV cuts newscasts at 'A News' in Ottawa
As of Tuesday, 'A News' in Ottawa will no longer be broadcasting a 6 p.m. or 11 p.m. newscast.
The CTV-owned station is laying off 34 people in Ottawa and Pembroke.
"I've been a journalist for 30 years. In print, radio, TV, both sides of the camera and I can't imagine what else I'll do," said Bob McIntyre, a producer at 'A News.'
"Television production is a team sport and you work very closely with your co-workers, so I think that's the saddest part is to leave your team behind," added Casey Young, a production assistant with the company.
'A' will be expanding its weekday breakfast show from three to four hours and will add a two-hour morning program on Saturdays.
"These are extremely difficult and challenging decisions to make given it's not about the quality of our 'A' programming or that we have achieved double-digit audience growth," said Paul Sparkes, executive vice president of corporate affairs with CTVglobemedia.
The restructuring also includes 'A' stations in London, Barrie and Victoria. The three-hour local morning shows in those cities are cancelled, effective immediately.
The total number of layoffs across Canada is 118 positions, or 28 per cent of A's total workforce. The announcement includes job cuts from last week's decision not to renew licences for 'A News' stations in Wingham and Windsor.
"It's going to be difficult to try and get another position in the broadcast industry. Many people are taking a look and going, 'Well, is this the industry that I even want to be in any more?'" said 'A' producer Denise Leblanc.
CTV says the cuts were made to address the "grave" financial reality facing its 'A' stations, which demonstrates broadcasters can't survive under the industry's current model.
"We simply can't monetize our success. We are doing everything we can to hang on to conventional television, but as we continue to stress, the conventional model is now broken. In the long term, the only real solution is fee-for-carriage," Sparkes said in a prepared statement.
Under the current broadcast model, cable and satellite television providers don't pay for the conventional network signals they distribute.
CTV and Canwest Global, the country's two major private networks, have both argued for the same steady subscriber revenues that cable specialty channels earn.
Last fall, the CRTC denied the request for fee-for-carriage, which would have pumped up to $300 million in additional money into the broadcast industry.
Without that revenue stream, the general manager of 'A' Ottawa says conventional channels face a further slide in red ink and layoffs.
"In all likelihood, there'll be many more days like today where local stations will be forced to cut even more local programming and even face the prospect of entire closure," Richard Gray told CTV Ottawa on Tuesday.
However, CTV is not the only media company struggling with finances.
In early February, the CRTC said that private television broadcasters saw their profits drop 93 per cent in 2008. Canwest Global is now on the brink of filing for bankruptcy protection. The CBC, meanwhile, has reported a $65 million shortfall.
With a report CTV Ottawa's Norman Fetterley