CTV Montreal lays off executive producer Barry Wilson, CHOM drops Picard

Updated Nov. 16 with comment from Wilson, and news of other cuts.

Barry Wilson (CTV photo)

Barry Wilson is no longer an employee of Bell Media.

The executive producer of CTV Montreal, who viewers saw once a week during his Postscript opinion segments, has been with the station for decades, but his position has been eliminated, Bell Media confirmed to me today. Staff were told about the dismissal during the day.

“The position was eliminated as a cost-saving measure,” explains Matthew Garrow, director of communications for news and local stations at Bell Media. “Barry’s executive producer responsibilities will be assumed by (news director) Jed Kahane.”

“I worked with some of the best people in the business and am thankful for that,” Wilson told me Thursday after what he described as a “strange week.”

“It’s been a good run. Who knows what the next step is but I am not retired.”

He similarly updated his Twitter bio to say “Thanks to everyone who supported my efforts over the years. Not done yet.”

Wilson’s dismissal follows the elimination of the entire sports department this summer, and comes just two months after the expansion of CTV Montreal’s evening newscast to two hours. The general manager position had also been eliminated previously, so Kahane is filling a lot of jobs now (including dealing with viewers angry about Wilson’s dismissal).

A petition has been started and already has more than 600 signatures. As with previous petitions, this won’t change anything, but will probably make Wilson feel better.

Other jobs were also eliminated at CTV Montreal — assignment editor Amalia Fernandez and researcher Peter Schiavi. And cuts were made across the street at Bell Media radio. Most are off-air jobs but one casualty appears to be Picard, the music director at CHOM, who has undergone the ritual scrubbing of existence on CHOM’s website.

Other cities

Cuts are happening in other cities as well. Since Bell doesn’t exactly put out a press release about this stuff, we have to rely on local reporting to confirm the news:

The Unifor union says about 50 jobs were cut across the country, and lays the blame on the CRTC for allowing Bell to operate like this.

73 thoughts on “CTV Montreal lays off executive producer Barry Wilson, CHOM drops Picard

  1. Kathy

    Just another example of Bell Medias treatment of long time employees. The bottom line is all they are interested in. They treat their employees like numbers not people……

    Reply
  2. Rob Braide

    Barry is one of the really great broadcast journalists. I bumped into him today and he gave me the news…pardon the pun. He’s got over 40 years in the business and he will be missed on Friday evenings. Global, City or CBC would be very smart to bring him on board. Another cut of a talented and respected broadcaster. I’d change channels to find him.

    Reply
  3. Patrick Benoît

    Why don’t they just shut down the station altogether? Does anyone really watch the dried corpse of CFCF 12 anymore? Toronto killed it. Their disdain and jealousy of Montréal displayed with every crippling blow. To be honest, I haven’t watched in about 15 years, since they changed it to a full CTV O&O. They took away everything good that made CFCF 12 unique and worth watching and turned it into another one of their O&O clones. The news is UNBEARABLE to watch: cheap, dry and slopped together thoughtlessly.

    This, folks, is what happens when a phone company buys a TV station to become its advertising billboard. The only thing holding CTV together is its history and former “prestige”. But even that won’t hold forever. How long until the channel is converted into a 24-hour cycle of Bell commercials?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Why don’t they just shut down the station altogether?

      Because it makes money.

      Does anyone really watch the dried corpse of CFCF 12 anymore?

      Yes.

      Reply
  4. jillianpage

    Yah, because poor BCE is only netting a billion a quarter, give or take some. And they do love to play Scrooge just before Xmas, eh. Just one more reason to tune out Ma Bell, I guess.

    Reply
  5. Edmund Gleason eddygeeeeeee.com

    always enjoyed his segments.Tough business when a multibillion dollar company feels it has to shed a salary of a talented person to save what,$100,00?

    Reply
  6. Mediaman

    This is so bloody terrible.. Does Bell have no shame. Cost cutting, and they’ve got money coming out of where the sun don’t shine..

    And who is this Matthew Garrow dude? What’s his background in news like veterans like Wilson, Kahane, Mutsumi, etc? Has he ever seen a newsroom?

    This passes me off..

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Very sorry to hear this. At this point, I’m not sure what this ‘Montreal’ station/newscast is even supposed to represent. If Bell can’t seem to actually employ anyone in the city it’s operating in, they should just get a John Tesh robot and put it on the air every day.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Bell profits in the millions. Barry Wilson’s salary saves them dough? How is this so, you dipstick bean counters at Bell?

    Reply
    1. Ex employee

      It is very simple: Bell expects each division to be individually profitable, so the News should make as much money as the cell phone providers.

      The fact that they have no sales people who even realize that CTV has a news show or a website doesn’t matter

      Reply
  9. Liz Ferguson

    Sorry to hear this, but glad to see several Montreal media people putting in a good word for Barry Wilson and protesting this penny-pinching move. Bell charges enough for their various services; you’d think that they could easily afford his salary, whatever it might be.

    Reply
  10. Mike L

    Every year now in November the budget will get smaller for our local radio and TV stations, with yearly staff cuts. All Montreal stations are already running with minimal staff.

    Reply
  11. Suzanne Desautels

    This cuts me to the quick. Very few in Montreal have Barry’s level of experience. Pathetic treatment of so many who have contributed so much to the Montreal media landscape.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      According to the annual report, parent company BCE Inc. made $3.087 billion in net earnings in 2016.

      Bell Media, which owns CTV and other broadcasting assets, had $743 million in profit (adjusted EBITDA).

      According to the CRTC financial disclosure, Bell Media’s conventional television operations (CTV and CTV Two) had a $5.5 million operating profit on $717 million in revenue, but with depreciation taken into account that came to a $33.4 million loss.

      Reply
      1. Patrick Benoît

        Your reply to my question: “Why don’t they just shut down the station altogether?” was:

        “Because it makes money.”

        So, are they making money or losing $33.4 million? Because as far as I know, you can’t do both.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          So, are they making money or losing $33.4 million?

          It depends on what “they” means. Are you talking about BCE, Bell Media, CTV, CTV Montreal, CTV Montreal’s newscasts, or something else? And what do you mean by “making money”? What counts as revenue and expenses? Are we talking operating profit (EBITDA), PBIT, pre-tax profit or after-tax profit?

          The math gets complicated when we’re talking about big companies.

          Reply
      2. Shirley Hill

        I feel Bell Media is lowering standards on CTV and improving the quality of CTV Two because the latter charges a viewing fee and CTV is included in the “basic price” of cable. Am I being too cynical?

        Reply
  12. Elaine Barnes

    I am absolutely shocked. These people have no soul. Barry Wilson was like a breath of fresh air and I made sure to listen to him every Friday. What a way to end a man’s career. These very people concerned only with the bottom line will probably find themselves one day in the same situation. No respect for experience, older workers, only the bottom line. How callous.
    Shame on Bell Media.

    Reply
  13. Leah Lafrance

    Letting Barry Wilson go is pulling the very heart and soul out of CTV news. If Bell is trying to cut costs, it has cut the wrong wire. Whoever made this decision clearly is disconnected from reality. Mr. Wilson is a brilliant man. His views, opinions and leadership are what the viewers rely upon to follow and make sense at what is happening in our city. He has an extraordinary ability to connect with people and his opinions are important to the viewer. The time has come to now switch the channel. P.S. Mr. Wilson you will be missed immensely. You have made a difference in our world of understanding news and politics in a simplistic way and thank you for the many years you have devoted to us, the viewers. Chapeau.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Terrible news. They have let another veteran go! CTV – at this rate the viewers will all leave also. Barry Wilson was /is an asset. Very disappointed.
    Shirley Gans

    Reply
  15. Lance Campeau

    Another bean counter move by CTorontoV… Local Montreal TV is dying a slow and painful death allright.. But I certainly don’t expect Bell to be a leader by trying to maintain a higher standard… Its clear that profit means everything and talent means nothing. A truly pathetic excuse for a media company. Just look what they did to CJAD.

    Reply
  16. Bev

    CTV over the last little while has taken some very radical steps and not for the better. First, the dissolution of their sports team and now this laying-off of Barry Wilson. Mr. Wilson was an integral part of the CTV news team and will be sorely missed. His easy, calm way of delivering an informative yet comprehensible editorial of the Montreal’s weekly news was a pleasure to listen to and something I looked forward to every Friday. I honestly believe that this move by Bell Media was not in the best interests of Montrealers and I, for one, will be looking elsewhere for my news. It is too bad that CTV has gone this route as they may lose many devote followers. Good luck Mr. Wilson with all future endeavors.

    Reply
  17. J

    What they have done to CFCF-DT 12 (CTV) is just terrible. The CRTC should review it’s past approvals, and perhaps force Bell Media to sell off certain OTA stations. They certainly are not serving their broadcast market as they use to.

    You know this station has fallen way below what it once was when CKMI-DT 15 (Global) managed to cover the municipal elections better than CFCF. And also managed to use their Focus Montreal program to give some much needed attention to the smaller races in their broadcast area. I even spotted Brian Wilde on CKMI-DT doing some Sports commentary. Not sure what’s up with that.

    Reply
  18. Mediaman

    Whoa, Picard, Amy Fernandez , and Peter Schiavi, so sorry for these as well as for Barry, having dealt with all of them for a variety of professional reasons..

    As for Picard’s position, who’s gonna take care of the music stuff, surely not Chris Bury, I mean what does he know about rock in general, and the classics in particular? Not much probably.

    But one logical question here, and we know that BCE and all their subsidiaries are run by bean counters, and now this seems now to have become an annual ritual of firings, which is what this is.
    But why does it have to be done every year just a month before Christmas??

    I hope Jean-pierre Blais is proud of the Bell Astral merger.

    Reply
  19. William Hennessy

    Sorry to see things like happen as barry was a great person that everyone enjoyed , but typical of bell, a company i was with for 65 years, they dont give a shit. i left them 5 years ago am happy all the very best barry best years ahead. Merry Christmas.

    Reply
  20. Fred Banner

    They let go cfto sports as well. Cjoh anchors and staff at cici was let go. Nothing was said to bellmedia staff of these moves. Very quietly done.

    Reply
  21. dilbert

    It would be repeating myself to say that the CRTC is reaping what they sowed.

    CTV appears to be headed towards a model where the “local” channel is nothing more than a couple of faces and a couple of camera men and that’s it. Everything else, from programming to actually putting things on the air would be done nationally.

    The potential is that CTV will end up with the National/local news package like Global, with only a very small amount of the news gathered locally, but actually entirely broadcast from Toronto by a very small staff.

    Things like that are efficient and the bottom line looks great. But it breaks the idea that “Local TV Matters” (remember that gem of a scam?), and makes the local stations all but meaningless, reduced to be re transmitters of a national channel.

    My suggestions:

    Mitsumi Takahashi: It’s time to choose to retire on your own plan rather than waiting for Bell to do it for you. It won’t be long before they will make that choice for you. You have been a class act all your career, don’t let them take that from you.

    CTV Sports people: If you work in the sports department of a CTV station of any sort, get your resume done and start looking. You are likely next.

    CRTC: It’s time to look back over your massive mistakes and see if there is any way to take it back

    PM Trudeau: Time to pass new laws to force the break up of the big media players that are neither serving the public directly or the public interest as a whole. Bell, Rogers, and many of the other “big” players are way too big.

    Suggestion: 1 FM and 1 AM, or 1 TV station in any market. No ownership of TV or radio stations if you operate a cable company or other distribution. No ownership of specialty channels if you operate a cable or distribution company.

    Give them 5 years to work it out, and allow more foreign ownership if needed.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      If you work in the sports department of a CTV station of any sort

      CTV Toronto was the last of this. There aren’t any more sports departments at CTV stations.

      CRTC: It’s time to look back over your massive mistakes and see if there is any way to take it back

      I don’t think there’s any one mistake that can be directly linked to this. The Astral takeover didn’t change anything as far as local stations, and CTV has owned TSN for quite a while. The commission can impose licence conditions requiring certain quotas, but it doesn’t like getting into how those conditions are generally met. The latest move was to impose a locally reflective news requirement on TV stations, which will probably do the most to protect local TV journalism jobs (and led to decisions by CTV and City to expand local news), but to go much further would be to put local stations in even further financial peril. CTV Two is already being kept on the air mostly as a charity case. City isn’t even close to making money. The farther the CRTC pushes, the more likely we could see TV networks shut down stations or close up shop entirely.

      Suggestion: 1 FM and 1 AM, or 1 TV station in any market. No ownership of TV or radio stations if you operate a cable company or other distribution. No ownership of specialty channels if you operate a cable or distribution company.

      The rule used to be you could have two of local daily newspaper, TV and radio station, but not three in the same market (which is why Quebecor owns no radio stations). Needless to say newspapers don’t have the same kind of market force as they used to, so a review of this policy would make sense. A review of exemptions (such as allowing Cogeco to own three French-language FM stations in Montreal) might also be due.

      Reply
      1. dilbert

        I don’t think it’s any one decision either. But it’s sort of like having taken a very long walk on a somewhat shorter pier. You are all wet and you need to figure out how you got there. Basically, you need to climb back onto the end of the pier and start walking it all back until it starts to make sense again.

        “to go much further would be to put local stations in even further financial peril”

        I think it’s hard to say that. The issue is that the reason were are here is because of all that pier walking above. We have ended up with local TV stations that send the vast majority of their income up the ladder (and out of the country) to pay for syndicated programming.

        It use to be that the local stations leveraged their news department, sets, and all the production equipment to also produce a number of other local programs on the cheap. In the case of CFCF, that meant everything from travel shows to news / review shows, and how can we forget McKenty Live?

        So yes, under the current circumstances, what they are doing is the best for the bottom line. But the bottom line of the local stations is so incredibly distorted by the mothership mentality that it’s hard to tell what the truth is. You can be sure that local stations would be significantly different than they are now if they were independent for everything except prime time and national news.

        ” The farther the CRTC pushes, the more likely we could see TV networks shut down stations or close up shop entirely.”

        Realistically, the current model doesn’t need local stations anyway, except for fodder to fill their cable / sat systems with “selection” and to justify simsub on the same systems.

        “A review of exemptions might also be due.”

        The exemptions are one of the many steps along that pier. There are so many exemptions and exceptions out there it’s like the rules never existed.

        Consider Ottawa – Gatineau and the area around it. Wikipedia shows 34 stations total. 6 for Bell, 5 for Rogers, Essential a third of the choices are controlled by two companies – and the CBC has 4. Or Calgary, 33 stations, Rogers holds 4, Bell holds 3.

        Montreal? Bell holds 6. Huh?

        Having the big media companies (incredibly profitable) hanging the doom and gloom hammer over the local stations (both TV and radio) should not be a reason not to change. The current system isn’t working. Canadians are likely to be left with few independent voices, and we are already on the edge of having essentially 3 TV channels (the three “networks”) and not much else. You may as well turn off the local transmitters and just give them an exemption for simsub, and call it even. It would be cheaper, and much better for the bottom line.

        If they don’t want to run local radio or local TV, that’s fine – someone else will, and someone else will find a way to run it profitably.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          We have ended up with local TV stations that send the vast majority of their income up the ladder (and out of the country) to pay for syndicated programming.

          According to the CRTC’s financial summaries for the industry, (a) the income for private television stations in Canada is negative, (b) non-Canadian programming expenses represent about 35% of revenues, far from “the vast majority”, and (c) expenses on Canadian programming are actually slightly higher than non-Canadian programming (though that includes French-language private stations). And the stations would argue that U.S. programming still makes them money despite its high cost.

          It use to be that the local stations leveraged their news department, sets, and all the production equipment to also produce a number of other local programs on the cheap. In the case of CFCF, that meant everything from travel shows to news / review shows, and how can we forget McKenty Live?

          “On the cheap” also means the shows themselves were not of the highest quality. McKenty Live was a radio call-in show on TV. Travel Travel was a series of tourism videos. I don’t want to disparage these shows or the people who worked on them, but they’re products of another time and wouldn’t survive in today’s media environment.

          You can be sure that local stations would be significantly different than they are now if they were independent for everything except prime time and national news.

          They would look more like CHCH in Hamilton or NTV in St. John’s or CHEK in Victoria. Those stations have strong local news departments but aren’t exactly flush with cash and still rely on a lot of imported programming.

          Reply
          1. dilbert

            Well, the CRTC is only telling you what Bell and the others are telling them. They together have created the circumstances under which this is happening.

            You also have to look a little more at the numbers to see what is going on:

            http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/branalysis/tv2016/tv3.htm
            and
            http://crtc.gc.ca/public/5040/BCE_2016_Conventional_Television_Aggregate_Return_public.pdf

            so (A) Essentially, the local stations are “national” for about 22 hours per day now. The vast majority of the income is made on the national level. When national time sales drop, the bottom lines of the local stations appear to drop with it. At the same time, local sales income drops because they have fewer spots to sell, fewer local programs to promote, and fewer local sales people to sell it.

            So the local stations appear to be losing money, when in fact it appears to be national sales that is really sucking.

            In (b) you have to do apples to apples to have a hope. Look at:

            http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/PolicyMonitoring/2017/cmr4.htm

            Canadian programming expenses: (4.2.24) shows 633 million, and non-Canadian programming expenses (4.2.25) shows 610 million. Now, I am not a math whiz here, but 610 and 633 are fairly close to each other, Such that Canadian and non-canadian programming expenses (including news production) seems to run neck and neck. Something isn’t adding up!

            and finally (c) the differences aren’t that big, and the decrease in national ad sales (while local has remained reasonable even with significantly decreased availability of local spots) suggests that it’s not working out exactly as they planned.

            My original point was quite simple: Where as a local station use to produce much of it’s own content for “non-network” times, the entire system these days is “network”. CTV as a network decides what is on the air for 22 hours per day. That leaves very little space for local channels to make a difference, they are now 100% tied to a mothership. If that mothership is having problems, they have problems, and they no longer have the tools to fix it (as they cannot produce their own local programming, nor can they choose their own schedule or sell their local spots).

            Declaring local TV as dying or dead assumes that there is no other context in which any of this works. Since you can no longer separate the local operation from the national one in any meaningful way, there is no room for the local station to make a difference. Save for the local news (switched, controlled, and everything except transmitted from Toronto), the local station is a null, no longer relevant to the local community or part of it.

            Also, let’s be fair here: The local TV is dying schtick doesn’t jive with what is happening in the US, where local affiliates are generally profitable businesses – even stations with little or no network affiliation. Canada has a problem related to how the whole thing is structured.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              Essentially, the local stations are “national” for about 22 hours per day now.

              CTV Montreal is national for 20.5 hours a day, or 21 if you add the weekend and take the average.

              At the same time, local sales income drops because they have fewer spots to sell

              The length of the day is still the same — there is no drop in the amount of advertising time available.

              So the local stations appear to be losing money, when in fact it appears to be national sales that is really sucking.

              The fact that it’s national ads that are going down does not somehow make local stations’ losses fictional.

              Canadian programming expenses: (4.2.24) shows 633 million, and non-Canadian programming expenses (4.2.25) shows 610 million. Now, I am not a math whiz here, but 610 and 633 are fairly close to each other

              That is correct, and $633 million is larger than $610 million, and $610 million is not the “vast majority” of total revenues of $1.7 billion.

              Also, let’s be fair here: The local TV is dying schtick doesn’t jive with what is happening in the US, where local affiliates are generally profitable businesses – even stations with little or no network affiliation

              I don’t have financial statistics for the U.S. TV industry, but I will point out that a quarter of U.S. TV stations’ revenues come from retransmission consent fees paid by cable companies. Canadian stations don’t benefit from that revenue source, and I’m not sure if Canadians want to change to a system where a local station can pull themselves off of cable if they don’t get a high enough fee.

              Reply
              1. dilbert

                “The length of the day is still the same — there is no drop in the amount of advertising time available.”

                Nope, but there is a difference in how that money is attributed. With all of the programming being national (save news, effectively), it’s also harder to develop local companies into consistent advertisers. It’s even harder when you have way less sales staff than the past as well!

                “The fact that it’s national ads that are going down does not somehow make local stations’ losses fictional.”

                It makes it so that the losses are reflective of national sales and national programming. It’s easy to say “local channels are losing money” but without the tools and the discretion to make changes that suit their market, they are only a reflection of the greater national market. The local “loss” reflects a bad national product, and not a failing of the local station.

                “That is correct, and $633 million is larger than $610 million, and $610 million is not the “vast majority” of total revenues of $1.7 billion.”

                Yes. However, in programming, it shows that non-canadian programming represents almost 50%, and when you roll out local news (which is what most of the stations produce) it’s suddenly so heavily weighted to non-canadian programming that it’s laughable. I won’t go back to look, but I think news was 400+ million of the 633 million. It’s why Bell keeps picking at it, because it’s a big line item. 10% saved in news production is way higher than any other 10% they are willing to touch.

                Except for mandated minimums, none of the players generally produces more Canadian content then absolutely required.

                “I don’t have financial statistics for the U.S. TV industry, but I will point out that a quarter of U.S. TV stations’ revenues come from retransmission consent fees paid by cable companies.”

                The US market does have some differences.

                You do understand that while local stations in Canada are being starved off, the same companies are operating cable and DTH distribution companies that have 20-30% operating profits, right? In the DTH category (Bell and Shaw) raked in 670 million profits in 2016. Cable companies raked in over a billion of profits. That is after paying for programming and all. Bottom line profits.

                Something is wrong here.

                How can it be so incredibly profitable to distribute something that isn’t at all profitable to make? Aren’t companies like Bell and such being slightly dishonest when they claim that local TV is losing money, when those same channels are part of the basic cable / DTH offerings that are making them so much profit?

              2. Fagstein Post author

                The local “loss” reflects a bad national product, and not a failing of the local station.

                National ads are not so tied to national programming. National ads are suffering across the industry, and in other industries like newspapers as well. Improving national programming won’t somehow cause those national ads to reappear.

                You do understand that while local stations in Canada are being starved off, the same companies are operating cable and DTH distribution companies that have 20-30% operating profits, right?

                Yes, but why should distribution companies be forced to subsidize television stations when plenty of distribution companies don’t own television stations and some television stations aren’t owned by distribution companies?

                How can it be so incredibly profitable to distribute something that isn’t at all profitable to make?

                Bell doesn’t make money by distributing CTV. That’s why Bell doesn’t like to sell basic cable packages.

              3. dilbert

                “Bell doesn’t make money by distributing CTV. That’s why Bell doesn’t like to sell basic cable packages.”

                Sure it does. What is basic cable? it’s your local TV channels. So Bell (as CTV) doesn’t get direct income, but Bell (as a distribution company) makes a 20% bottom line profit on doing just that.

                Time shifting? It’s just another way of using local channels to make distribution money.

                “National ads are not so tied to national programming. National ads are suffering across the industry, and in other industries like newspapers as well. Improving national programming won’t somehow cause those national ads to reappear.”

                You missed my point. National ads / national programming is “average Canadian” stuff. When you program all of your channels in one way based on what an average Canadian would enjoy, you have no local flavor. In the same way, since you have little in the way of local programming, there is little reason for a local advertiser to choose your station. There is no connection.

                I think that it’s most interesting that radio, which had been doing very well over the last decade or so, has most recently seen ads sales decline. This is at the same time that stations are becoming more and more corporately programmed, more and more similar across markets,

                There is also one other common thing, which is the loss of personalities and names in both TV and radio. The faces and voices are being replaced by more generic ones, ones that can come and go without disturbing the public. We connect with people, and when those people are gone, we no longer connect.

                We are not “average Canadians”. Nobody is, really. TV, radio, print, and internet that is made for that non-existent average person is doomed to failure.

  22. Anonymous

    I am very much afraid that Toronto is treating Montreal as already separated from Canada. I h ave watched both Montreal and Toronto news more than a few times. There is no comparison. What we had was a news dept. unequalled. They have now destroyed the sports dept. and now the editorial dept. They have extended the news dept. to 2 hours with only enough news for 1 hour barely. I think some genius in Toronto is trying to make CTV the CNN of the great North.
    I am disgusted with the entire CTV channel and have now removed it from my videotron package.

    Reply
    1. Patrick Benoît

      I co-sign this this comment. When they announced that Montréal was getting another hour of news, I was like “With which reporters? With what resources?”. Toronto gets all the budget and the local stations get the crumbs. Montréal’s news was the cream of the North American crop in the 90s. Now, it’s a shell of its former self. Oh, and the atlantic news centre hasn’t been modernized in 25 years.

      I do have to say that CTV has some amazing employees, if not to say doormats. They’re overworked and severely underappreciated. Personally, I’d never work their workloads for the salaries they get. I’d go to the U.S. to get the same salary with a reasonable work week or find another independent employer.

      I seriously wish Bell would sell off CTV and its O&Os so we could go back to having quality television in Canada. Bell is just killing Canadian TV altogether because they’re just using their stations as advertising spots for their phone, TV and internet service. The CRTC shouldn’t allow companies to own so many assets in the various medias. It’s a quasi-monopoly.

      Reply
      1. Fagstein Post author

        I seriously wish Bell would sell off CTV and its O&Os so we could go back to having quality television in Canada.

        What is the basis for your suggestion that a new owner will lead to an increase in the quality of television at CTV?

        Reply
        1. Patrick Benoît

          I’m glad you asked- because I love this topic.

          First, let’s think back to when TV was GOOD: what happened that changed that? What broke TV in Canada? Answer: the phone companies bought TV stations. That was the shift. That’s what broke Canadian TV.

          Logically speaking, if you return television to folks who are passionate about making TV good on its own (and not using TV as a billboard or commercial tool for the rest of the company) and if the owners are focused on making the stations profitable on their own, you go back to having quality TV. The station owners would need to ensure that the viewers are happy and the content is of good quality.

          Now, let me just clarify that I’m not one of those people who live in the past. I love the present. But there’s so much we can learn just by looking at where we came from.

          For years, the telecoms have been bellyaching in front of the CRTC that profits are down and rules are too tight. Well, the CRTC isn’t to blame. The telecoms’ own foot-shooting decisions are.

          In today’s market, people are going to go where they can get GOOD CONTENT: Netflix, YouTube, etc. Stations like CTV can’t constantly cut budget to their news gatherings (the glue that holds local TV together) and give us bottom of the barrel shows and news, expecting that we’re going to eat it up with big smiles. The reality is: people have alternatives and this new generation is especially keen on going elsewhere when they’re not pleased (unlike older gens who stick with things due to habit).

          Also, company’s like Bell like to centralize everything. This is a losing strategy. People can smell BS. They can see the Toronto influence… and they don’t want it. I don’t want it and no one I talk to wants it. Even Torontonians don’t want it. Because Toronto’s execs have a stale and bland mentality when it comes to decision-making. The exception being Moses Znaimer. That man revolutionized the Canadian television landscape. But everyone else around him stayed boring. Instead of treating television as an art form, they treat it like an accounting firm. That way doesn’t work. It’s not interesting and isn’t fun to watch.

          I saw you mention NTV. See: that’s one of the few good stations left. They held onto the old format of being an AFFILIATE. They declined being bought and THAT is their saving grace. NTV still feels local. It still feels like they’re in control of their own image and that is amazing.

          On the flip side, CTV Montréal does not feel like a local station. CTV Atlantic does not feel like a local station. If I forget the channel on CTV Toronto, I can’t tell which CTV I left it on because they all look and feel the same. That’s not good. That is horrific. TV shouldn’t be like that. And that is why I’ve checked out and so have many others.

          So, how do we get back good TV? Take TV away from the phone companies. Let TV be run by companies and people who specialize in TV and making good TV.

          Reply
          1. Fagstein Post author

            First, let’s think back to when TV was GOOD: what happened that changed that?

            Your question presupposes that TV was at one point good, and that it is no longer. When was this? And why was it better than it is now?

            Let TV be run by companies and people who specialize in TV and making good TV.

            What companies? What people?

            Reply
            1. dilbert

              Let me poke in here for a just a second, and remind you of somethings:

              Reach For The Top: Quiz show for high school students. Decent TV< gave local kids a connection, and made a lot of them "famous" for a few minutes.

              Magic Tom Auburn.

              Anything with Don McGowen hosting it.

              Fighting Back (with Terry DiMonte!)

              Travel Travel (there's Don again!)

              Hockey Magazine

              Pulse News and the City at Six.

              Hockey Night In Canada with the Dick and Danny show… ;)

              TV made by Montrealers for Montrealers, didn't need a suit in Toronto to approve it and a suit in Montreal sold the ads and made it all go.

              Reply
      2. DS

        Toronto has 6 million more English speaking people in their market than we do. Blaming Toronto is as tired as the politics in this province. Big cuts in Toronto all round.

        French TV networks TVA, V are having their budgets slashed also. At the end of the day, in the big picture, Bell is no different than Quebecor and Remstar in the way they operate their business model.

        Newscasts have too much fluff, content saturation is rampant and although there are incredible , hardworking people both on and off camera, there are also a lot of “comfortable” employees calling it in.

        We should all brace ourselves for less qualified, inexperienced people to rise in the ranks as private broadcasters continue to focus on bottom line and how we consume their content rather than the quality of it.

        Barry was one of the last good ones.

        Reply
  23. Dorothy

    When Canada AM was revamped, this blog logged dozens of upset comments.
    Does anyone know what AM”s viewer #s are compared to its previous incarnation? Did everyone who said they’d stay away make good on that? Just asking…

    Reply
  24. DS

    Anyone who cannot get over CFCF 12 days should get rid of their smart phone, cancel their digital cable, stop going on social media, forget about the internet, abstain from streaming content and return their PVR to their cable provider.

    I think there are too many dinosaurs at CTV Montreal (Mitsumi excluded) for a 2017 – 2018 audience. The way news is consumed changes by the minute.

    CTV Montreal did not even bring in their lead ,most-respected anchors for our municipal election last week. It is Quebec! Every election affects our future.

    CTV Montreal were in bed with Coderre his entire term yet could not care less about covering this election in the way Montrealers deserved cause it fell on Sunday??????

    That Coderre segment was tacky. Clearly it was driven more about greed over access to him. Can you get more local than a municipal election?

    We need to follow the UK’s lead and demand more of the CBC morning, noon and night on a local and national level. WE PAY FOR THE CBC.

    CTV, Global and CITY are just fulfilling minimum license requirements to sell advertising and advertise their other properties.

    CBC, on every level ,is our only hope.

    Reply
    1. Marc

      CTV Montreal were in bed with Coderre his entire term

      Recall those silly “talk of the town” segments where the populist blowhard would “answer” the softest of pre-screened softball questions from viewers. That was entertainment disgused as public service.

      But more like Bell Media on the whole – especially during this past election cycle. If you listened between the lines to Leslie Roberts and to an extent Aaron Rand, they wanted Coderre to win. Even more so the despair in their voices on election night when it was announced just 45 mins after polls closed that Plante was heading to a stunning win.

      Reply
  25. Apple IIGS

    Tonight I waited for CTV’s Postscript, as I do every Friday evening, but it never came. Then I came here and found out why.

    I am shocked? Yes. Surprised? Absolutely not. Back when the entire sports team was fired in June, I predicted more cuts of long time staffers would come, and now, here we are. And I still predict more to come: Cindy Sherwin, Caroline Van Vlaardingen, Lori Graham, Mose Persico, Stephan Giroux and even Mutsumi are headed towards the chopping block. I also expect the the “Gripe” guest team (Aaron Rand, Bill Brownstein and Terry DiMonte) has its days numbered, it’s too local in flavor.

    This time though Bell has attacked the very the heart of CTV Montreal News. Barry Wilson was, without any doubt, its keystone. Without him its now just a hallow and empty shell. He was the voice of Anglophone Montrealers, standing up for our rights, pointing out injustices and making sense all the madness that goes on daily in this province. I cannot fathom watching CTV without him, he wasn’t just an interesting editorialist, he was THE most vital voice this station had. I just hope he can find another soapbox to speak from, his importance transcends this TV station. Still, as far as I’m concerned, his firing was the fat lady finally come to sing at CTV Montreal.

    As for Bell Canada, I am beyond disgusted with this cruel, mean spirited and heartless company, and not just for this particular move. Not only will I continue to boycott their products and services (phone, Internet, TV, The Source stores, etc) I will make the effort to convince as many people as possible to drop Bell and avoid them like the plague. I suggest others do the same, the only thing Bell understands is money, and we need to stop giving them our business.

    Reply
    1. dilbert

      I have suggested already that Mitsumi would be wise to do a “Tommy” and retire with the cake and the going away show instead of being handed the one box and a security guard escort. It’s unlikely Montreal will have it’s own anchor team in the next few years, it’s just too expensive!

      Reply
      1. Apple IIGS

        [blockquote]Everyone you name is a permanent employees with years of union seniority. Every. One.[/blockquote]

        Wasn’t that also the case for Randy Tieman, Brian Wilde and Barry Wilson? In the case of Tieman and Wilson, they had been at CFCF12 for decades, going back as far as the early 80’s!

        I suspect many of the local segments will be targeted too as a means to cut costs: Forbidden Montreal, Sunday Bite, Mose at the Movies, Mutsumi’s book club, What’s On, Gripes. We’ve already seen Randy’s Rookies, On Your Side, Talk of the Town and several others go.

        If Barry Wilson can be let go, then just about no one is safe at CTV Montreal.

        Reply
      2. DS

        If Frank Candido could be pushed out so can Lori. Permanent employees can be eliminated. Head office just has to determine whether the expense is worth it or not.

        I am sure the politics and unnecessary bureaucracy these “permanent employees with years of union seniority” create is a big pain in the side of Bell Media.

        I would be that behind the scenes at CTV Montreal must be stifling and duplicitous.

        Reply
    1. DS

      Yeah! They would need to amp up their talent roster in order to own the market again. Prior to Global’s launch in 1997 the only two players were CBC Montreal and Pulse. This media landscape reset is CBC’s time to take back what’s rightfully all of ours. High standards and Canadian through and through. Let’s get rid of the gibberish , fluffy, puffy presenters and bring back the real reporters. What’s old is new again…..

      Reply
  26. Betty Mahmouridis

    With all these changes CTV has been doing, I have started to watch news on other stations.
    After years of being a loyal viewer, it’s very unfortunate.

    Reply
  27. Anonymous

    Barry Wilson is a terrific journalist and commentator. So sad to see him go. Bring back Leslie Roberts, a true professional. Now he keeps CJAD going. Why not bring him back as a commentator?

    Reply
  28. Ryan Lee

    How can anyone miss a person who keeps on CHANGING his opinions, exaggerating the events, and making accusations without any evidence? Several years ago, he asked our governments to ban face covering and now he asks our government NOT to ban face covering. Furthermore, he is disrespectful to our courts’ rulings even though the courts rulings are based upon our Charter of human rights and freedoms. He also disrespects other peoples’ cultures by claiming that other peoples’ greetings will diminish him. So I sincerely hope we will never hear his voice on CTV again.

    Reply
  29. Howard F. Johnson

    Ryan Lee: What the heck are you talking about? None of what you’ve said is true, though feel free to prove otherwise by linking or quoting a reliable source. Please, I invite you to do so. It sounds like you disapprove of Barry Wilson’s fighting for rights and freedoms, perhaps because it conflicts with your beliefs?

    Without his voice we instead get the voice of ignorance with comments like yours.

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    We are so incensed and infuriated about the dismissal of Barry Wilson whom we have always enjoyed immensely. He is highly intelligent, knowledgeable and very fair in analyzing controversial situations. Will now delete our CTV APP. HAVE NO DESIRE TO CONTINUE WATCHING CTV EVER AGAIN. Marcia Reim and Sydney Stein

    Reply
  31. Anonymous

    What is Bell thinking? Loved listening to Barry Wilson his comments to me were always on point.
    When Bell got rid of Randy Tieman, Brian Wilde the news was not the same.
    I have been a loyal viewer for many years, I have now switched channels.
    Wake up Bell!

    Reply
  32. Pingback: Barry Wilson returns with his Postscripts on YouTube | Fagstein

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