The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union has swiftly moved to denounce the 940 News layoffs, only a month after the fact and a week after the station’s new format launched. Specifically, they’re complaining that the change violates the station’s CRTC license, which establishes an all-news format (at least I’m pretty sure it does — I can’t find the conditions of license on the CRTC website).
But if the TQS situation showed us anything, it’s that the CRTC’s programming requirements for station licenses have an unwritten “it’s not making us enough money” exemption. So not only can you slash staff and radically change a format without getting a license amendment, you can do so without consulting the CRTC, and simply ask for a format change after the fact.
Until the CRTC grows some balls, expect more of these kinds of moves: money-losing broadcasters unilaterally switching to cheap, lowest-common-denominator formats and laying off all but a skeleton staff.