CFCF cancels morning newscast, lays off three

Morning news anchor Herb Luft will return to regular reporting

Morning news anchor Herb Luft will return to regular reporting

The news hit insiders this morning, and the press release was issued just after the end of business: CFCF (aka CTV Montreal) is cancelling its 6am morning newscast, effective immediately, and replacing it with another half hour of its national morning program Canada AM. (Previously, CFCF would cut into Canada AM after the first half hour.) They’ve already updated their weekly schedule to reflect the change.

The decision, which is being made to cut costs, will mean the cutting of four positions (one of which is already vacant). Herb Luft, who has been anchoring the morning newscast since it started in March 2000, will return to general assignment reporting.

CFCF’s license requires a minimum of 15.5 hours a week of local programming. Since the cancellation of Entertainment Spotlight and SportsNight 360 in January, this has been entirely made up of local newscasts (and the late sportscast at 11:45). The cancellation of the half-hour weekday newscast drops CFCF’s local programming hours from 18.5 to about 16 hours a week with a one-hour weekday noon newscast, one-hour daily evening newscast and 35-minute daily late newscast.

It also means that there is now no morning local news from any of Montreal’s anglophone television stations. Global Quebec cancelled This Morning Live last year and replaced it with a repeat of the previous night’s News Final. CBC Montreal airs a national morning news program.

First News, as it was officially called, was also the last local morning newscast in the CTV network. All the other stations ran all three hours of Canada AM from 6 to 9am.

UPDATE: The Gazette has a brief about it (that’s open to comments), which pretty much repeats everything already in this post. Evening anchor Todd van der Heyden mentioned the cancellation in the middle of the evening newscast (the website has a brief about it as well), pointing out that even with this reduction CFCF has more local news than its competitors.

UPDATE (March 11): How’s this for irony? CTV has laid off 24 people from Canada AM.

8 thoughts on “CFCF cancels morning newscast, lays off three

  1. Marc

    Sad news, indeed. Hopefully it’ll be back one day soon. I guess Salu, Bonjour! on CFTM is the only game left now…

  2. Atom Ant

    Makes no sense to me. Just about the only place conventional television has a hope in hell of speaking to an audience and growing an audience is in the morning.
    Breakfast television (news, weather, sports, traffic) comes at a time and in a format that is perfect for people busy in the morning. Once the kids are out the door and mom and dad are off to work it’s anybody’s guess as to when or if they’ll turn their TV back on.
    The kids certainly won’t and mom and dad are probably getting their news online, up-to-date and when they want at the office all day long. When was the last time you came home and watched (or had to watch!) the six o’clock news.
    Instead we get “convergence” and “economies of scale”.
    And we end up with CTV and the Team 990 being owned by the same company (both of which announced layoffs this week)
    Global and the Gazette being owned by the same company (and we all know
    how that’s going)
    Astral owning. CHOM, CJAD and VIRGIN and CORUS doing something, somewhere.
    All the managers are whistling past the graveyard, and the grunts are left to wonder when their jobs will be cut.
    Keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same results.
    Need to be a lot more creative folks.

  3. Dominique J-S

    I’m going to miss Herb’s morning news updates, usually briefs about crime stories that happened overnight. The local weather was more detailed than what you get on canada am too.

  4. MBG

    It won’t be missed in Western Canada… Canada AM doesn’t register at all in the ratings. They’re either watching Global or CityTV.

  5. Jacques

    I swear to God, We have to stop talking crap from multinationals…

    How can a market like Plattsburg,Burlington,Vermont, AKA fox44 and Abc22 put on a nightly newscast and a morning newscast in that small a market when CTV says it can’t (WON’T) do local news.

    this is yet another example of why Bigger is never better


    1. Fagstein Post author

      Fox 44 and ABC 22 share local newscasts because WVNY doesn’t have the money for its own. Fox 44 has two hours in the morning and a half hour at night, which is the same amount that CFCF produces. The other U.S. stations have fewer hours devoted to local news.

      CTV would also argue that the U.S. stations get cable carriage fees while CFCF does not.

  6. SMS

    Nuts. I liked watching that before hitting the road. The MTQ camera action was always welcome. VOX doesn’t broadcast the cameras till 7 am at the earliest I believe. I guess it’s switching between NW and RDI for me!

  7. Pingback: Herb Luft retiring from CFCF after 39 years – Fagstein

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