Natasha Hall, Mose Persico, Lise McAuley among Bell Media cuts in Montreal

Updated March 24 with more details.

Two weeks after BCE announced it was abolishing 4,800 jobs, we’re starting to learn how those losses are trickling down to the local level.

In Montreal, CTV News was hit hard. The station’s website confirms weather presenter Lise McAuley, assignment editor Derek Conlon and production assistant and movie reviewer Mosé Persico no longer work for the company. That’s decades of experience with CFCF gone.

Director Yves Marion and producer Helen Michailidis have also left the organization.

This doesn’t mean they were all let go. In fact, a source within CTV Montreal tells me most of them took voluntary retirement packages instead. (Persico confirms this was the case for him.)

CTV News also lost Montreal-based national reporter Vanessa Lee. There’s no official list nationally, but correspondent Judy Trinh notes some names gone at CTV National News. It includes Kevin Gallagher, who was formerly a local reporter with CTV Montreal.

On the radio side, CJAD cut afternoon co-host Natasha Hall and Trivia Show co-host Dan Laxer is also gone. The loss of Hall isn’t entirely unexpected — a schedule shuffle in 2021 to incorporate more unoriginal programming on the schedule meant merging her show with Aaron Rand’s and making them co-hosts. This made one of them an easier cut in the next round of layoffs.

Rand, no stranger to having to carry on after his co-hosts get fired, paid tribute to Hall in a Facebook post, calling her “a smart, talented, and a consummate radio professional who didn’t deserve this outcome.”

With Laxer’s departure, Ken Connors is listed as the sole host of the Sunday morning Trivia Show.

I haven’t seen any cuts at CHOM, Virgin Radio or TSN Radio in Montreal. Despite the sword of Damocles seeming to dangle above TSN 690’s head, the station itself seems to have survived the latest round of cuts.

As announced with the news of the layoffs, CTV has cancelled noon newscasts at local stations outside Toronto, as well as news on holidays. CTV Montreal’s weekend newscasts survived the cut, along with Ottawa and Toronto, but other CTV stations have seen those newscasts cut as well.

UPDATE: Persico has already announced a new gig to keep him busy: Host of the afternoon drive show on ethnic station Mike FM 105.1 starting April 1. The announcement confirms his Mose at the Movies segments will move to Mike FM’s platforms.

103 thoughts on “Natasha Hall, Mose Persico, Lise McAuley among Bell Media cuts in Montreal

  1. Gilles Larin

    Not much to say about this! This is Bell’s way of doing business! More to come and their hunger for PROFIT$ continues!

    Reply
    1. Bob Aubertin

      For a so-called major Canadian city, Bell Media has depleted Montreal’s radio broadcasting to a sub-standard level.
      Bell media executives have No clue about the broadcasting needs of Montreal listeners. These execs are self-serving Greedy people who are fed on the backs of the Real broadcasting talent in the trenches keeping us informed and entertained from morning till night 24/7.

      I am a former Bell customer who cut my ties a while ago. I hope that a new industry player comes to the table with an offering that eliminates Bell in the industry.

      Good luck and best wishes to those who were mercifully axed. Montreal will Never be the same!

      Reply
        1. Flora Guthrie

          You are so right that Bell Media knows nothing about the needs of english & french Montreal population needing the news at noon.

          They obviously do not like correcting a mistake.

          I not happy at all with Bell.

          Reply
  2. Al Randall

    Typical Bell Media accounting and actuary moves. Cut the longest serving (most experienced) talent because they simply cost too much to maintain with salaries & benefits. Short-sighted, to say the least. Look for the demise of Sunday morning trivia on CJAD. With Laxer gone, and Conners about to retire, it will be much less costly to fill that slot with “national” programming out of Toronto. Thanks to BM, the state of English radio in Montreal is in great peril.

    Reply
  3. Mimo

    Ottawa is usually spared during these cuts, but not this time. The Move 100 morning show was cut, with replacements due to be named soon. Likely the former hosts from Pure Country 94, who have been replaced by the Pure Country morning team from Kingston.
    On the TV side, Christina Succi (who has been recovering from a nearly life ending car accident) was let go as anchor as was new hire Dalia Ashry, who will be allowed to see out her contract which expires in May.
    We’ve noticed the 6 pm newscast hosted by Graham Richardson and Patricia Boal has been reduced to one person, with Patricia taking on the 5 pm newscast now. Former 5 PM host Matt Skube has been demoted to just weather.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Unless someone wants to buy one of the small-market stations like Yorkton or Sudbury, I don’t see sales on the horizon that would break up the national network. More likely scenarios would see the entire CTV2 network shut down or sold (except maybe Barrie), the entire CTV and CTV2 network sold, or Bell Media as a whole being divested. But more cuts is the most likely scenario if CTV doesn’t return to profitability.

      Reply
      1. Stéphane Dumas

        With the cuts at Bell media and soon at Rogers, is it far-fetched to imagine a merger of CTV and CityTV down the road just like UPN and the WB did in the United States to form the CW? (or further back in time when the 2 AM radio networks in Quebec, Telemedia and Radiomutuel merged their AM networks in 1994).

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          With the cuts at Bell media and soon at Rogers, is it far-fetched to imagine a merger of CTV and CityTV down the road

          If by merger you mean a sale of CityTV to Bell (or CTV to Rogers), the CRTC wouldn’t allow this to happen. Rogers only owns CityTV because the CRTC wouldn’t allow CTV to buy it when it bought CHUM in 2006-07.

          Reply
    2. Jack Nathanson

      Of course, CTV has been losing money for years. When Bell got hold of CFCF-12 in 2001, CFCF-12 was quite a profitable operation. It received most it’s income from local advertising. It had lots of local advertising because it ran programming that people in Montreal actually wanted to watch!

      When Bell took over, it moved most of the popular programs from its broadcast stations to its cable stations. It assumed that most people would become desperate enough to subscribe to cable, and that the increased cable revenues would more than compensate for the loss from broadcast television.

      This probably worked for a while, but then people became able to stream programming from the internet. And cable began to seem like more and more of a rip-off. So fewer people subscribed to cable.

      So now Bell owns television stations that no one watches, and radio stations that no one listens to. And a cable system that keeps having fewer and fewer subscribers. Couldn’t happen to nicer people!

      Reply
      1. Fagstein Post author

        When Bell got hold of CFCF-12 in 2001, CFCF-12 was quite a profitable operation. It received most it’s income from local advertising. It had lots of local advertising because it ran programming that people in Montreal actually wanted to watch!

        Bell bought CFCF in 2001, then sold CTV in 2005, then bought it back in 2011. And yeah, television was still profitable in 2001, since it was the days before Facebook, TikTok, and even YouTube.

        When Bell took over, it moved most of the popular programs from its broadcast stations to its cable stations.

        I’m not sure I’d describe it that way. In fact I have a hard time thinking of examples of series that were taken off CTV and moved to specialty channels, which at the time still had to respect their assigned genres. Nowadays pay TV has more popular (and expensive) series than network TV does, which reflects a change also happening in the U.S. For better or worse, CTV’s primetime programming is still largely tied to the big four U.S. networks thanks to the simultaneous substitution regime.

        Reply
    3. TV Guy

      BCE artificially silos all of its units into smaller and smaller divisions so that the newsroom loses money, while the people selling ads that air during the broadcast of said unit make money.

      In a realistic accounting, the newsroom would ‘sell’ its ad time to the sales unit, and would therefore, on paper, make money.

      BCE has chosen not to do this because they want to make it look like the Canadian production of programming is losing money.

      The reality is that BCE as a whole is a highly profitable company.

      Reply
      1. Fagstein Post author

        I’ve heard this argument before, but I don’t see how this could make it look like CTV as a whole isn’t making money if its advertising revenue exceeds its expenses (especially if CTV makes money on newscasts).

        Reply
        1. TV Guy

          It could do it by charging ridiculous amounts for building maintenance and rent, asset depreciation, etc.

          Reply
          1. Fagstein Post author

            It could do it by charging ridiculous amounts for building maintenance and rent, asset depreciation, etc.

            I suppose, but even if we assume auditors allowed such expenses, it would be pretty apparent if ad revenue far outpaced programming expenses but technical expenses were through the roof. I think the CRTC would probably see through that.

            Reply
            1. Anonymous

              The thing is, losing money is the crying towel for Bell. They pull this out every time the CRTC or anyone else has even the slightest inkling of making them improve, or at the slightly sign of competition. Having the profits happen in other places is a great way to keep up the appearances of a poor, money losing industry.

              Remember that much of the expenses don’t just move money around CTV, but rather move them OUT of the CTV and on to Bell as a bigger company. Remember, they are making billions of profits. Run at proper arms length, CTV would be shopping to other providers for property, equipment, and so on.

              Example for CTV Montreal: Why are they down town? It is meaningless for them to be there at this point. Why not move the studios to Laval, or onto the south shore for a lower rental cost building? Nope, they are paying rent in a Bell owned building that transfers cash out of CTV networks and towards the greedy parent. Same for communications, it appears that that CTV stations don’t own their own transmitters and instead pay Bell services to “maintain” them… again, money going directly out of the left pocket towards the right pocket without a competitive bid process.

              If you want to do some research, go look up “double irish tax avoidance” to understand how companies work to keep their operating companies poor and the parent very rich indeed.

              Reply
              1. Fagstein Post author

                Having the profits happen in other places is a great way to keep up the appearances of a poor, money losing industry.

                Sure, but there’s no evidence Bell is doing this. And plenty of evidence that over-the-air television is not a profitable industry on its own.

                Example for CTV Montreal: Why are they down town? It is meaningless for them to be there at this point.

                Setting aside whether Papineau and René-Lévesque could be considered downtown, it’s true that with technology today they could in theory be anywhere. Bell Media’s broadcasting operations were clustered in that area because that’s where most Montreal broadcasters are based (Bell, CBC, TVA) and it had the technical resources available to do that work in an era before fibre-optic cable was everywhere. Astral/Bell moved its English radio stations there from Fort St. and Greene Ave. to consolidate more efficiently. (Bell owns the CTV building but not the radio one.) I’m not seeing any serious evidence that Bell is using some outrageous rent to itself here as a way of laundering money.

                “Double Irish tax avoidance” doesn’t really apply here because Bell Media operates only in Canada.

              2. Anonymous

                The double irish concept isn’t specifically tax avoidance, it’s the flow of income from operating divisions to profit holding divisions. That includes holding copyrights, owning property, and generally all the things that are actually valuable. If your main sources of increasing income are begging the CRTC for higher rates, less responsibilities, and so on… then making sure your broadcast business appear to be losing money is a great way to do it. The CRTC will not allow new competition into a market place if the incumbent players are not making money. So it becomes a regulatory capture trick.

                For rents, Bell doesn’t have to charge the stations outrageous amounts (you are reading too much into this) but rather just the high end of the market. If you are a money losing TV station like CFCF apparently is, you would be looking to relocate to the lowest cost location possible. Downtown Montreal (or at least core of Montreal) is not the cheap way to do this.

                The radio stations do take less space, but their proximity to the TV building is still part of that all in one mentality.

                If you look at smaller radio stations, as an example, you will see them working out commercial spaces, warehouse units, and all sorts of other amusing spaces. Any anonymous office building, walk up… doesn’t really matter. Again, if the stations are all losing piss pots full of money, fancy offices would seem to be a better target than the on air product.

            2. Eamon Hoey

              At this stage the CRTC is not the guardian of cost. That story is over. All they desire to know who wants to buy and do the fit the CRTC mold. The rest is only window dressing.

              Reply
          2. Eamon Hoey

            CTV is just one big very centralized bureaucracy somewhat better than CBC in terms of programming. Global is more ago agile and may be a purchaser. BCE just never understood what it means to be a broadcaster and how you recruit, develop, and retain the creative and on-air staff.

            Reply
    4. Gi Larin

      Close it down! Most of the programming is American anyways and we can get it directly from U.S. broadcasters!

      Reply
      1. Flora Guthrie

        CTV Montreal need to be available for the Montreal English. Surely someone with money & a good sense of business can be found who has an interest. It could make money. I hope & pray for that outcome.

        Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Any company cares about what the public thinks of them. But Bell has calculated that the impact on public perception is outweighed by the benefits of reducing payroll. And if people weren’t upset about all the previous Bell cuts, why would the suddenly care about this one?

      Reply
      1. Jim in Saratoga Springs NY

        Big corporations in the United States are having a heck of a time in the radio sphere as well. There is somewhat of a reversion back to local ownership (or at least smaller ownership groups) on this side of the border w a lot of sell of from the big corps. Bell’s prob (IMHO..) is not understanding that LOCAL programming in many markets is really important. I started to listen to CJAD in 2008 because it’s programming consisted of local-Montreal hosts. Over the years I’ve seen Natasha Hall, Ric Peterson, Sol Boxenbaum, Dan Laxer, Tommy Schnurmacher, Peter Anthony Holder, Laurie Betitio, Olga and Laure, Kim Fraser, Barry Morgan all head out the door. These were colorful folks who created interesting discussion and interesting programming. Bell does not understand that boring the public will lose ratings…and “Best Of” programming people know are just cheap ways to fill time. The midday 12-2 program of Canadian politics is pretty boring (even my friends up there know this…)…. Bell is basically incompetent imho….

        Reply
  4. John Anderson Pittman

    Bell rhymes with Hell, pretty much our English media in Montreal via Bell is going to hell in a hand basket, our voice is slowly being taken over by Toronto. CJAD used to be on all the time, now I just listen mostly for the traffic reports as well Montreal Now while at work, but after that cannot stand the broadcasts that follow. I will miss Dan Laxer on Sunday mornings, as well want to thank him for hosting the Christmas Show for all those years. Global, CBC or City News are not the greatest, but admit TVA is quite good for most news as long as it does not come to issues of language. CTV News at noon is gone, but they have a half hour segment at 5pm, then the full hour at 6?????

    Reply
  5. Daniel Shields

    I understand that Bell is losing money. What I don’t understand is how they expect to make money by firing their household names. Puzzling.

    Dan Shields
    Ottawa

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      What I don’t understand is how they expect to make money by firing their household names.

      They save money on salaries, and amount they have concluded exceeds any incremental loss of advertising revenue.

      Reply
  6. Anonymous

    This is really bad news. But, what do expect from Bell Media anyway. Same old tactics.
    This company should not be in the media business, nor any creative business.

    But, there was a ray of good news in all of this. They sold off 45 radio stations.
    Now, those stations have an actual chance of surviving under new owners.

    The best think that Bell can do is sell it all off, and get lost. They’ve done enough damage to the industry.

    Reply
  7. Eamon Hoey

    BCE’s fantasy was its belief it could manage a television network and 100+ radio stations. All it needed was the right manager to apply controls on spending and voila the cash would flow. BCE failed to stick to its knitting. It overestimated its ability to manage assets outside of its core. It chased growth outside of its competence.

    BCE choose to stay in the comfortable closed-shop environment of Canada rather than exploit opportunities beyond Canada and within its capabilities. Unlike, RBC, TD, and Scotia who exploited foreign opportunities it lacked confidence in its capabilities.

    It is now just a matter of time before its remaining entertainment assets are closed or sold. BCE’s management blames its regulator for its failures. A company that was once the pride of Canadians for its terrific service and 100% CDN-owned will pass into uncertainty and obscurity.

    Reply
    1. Al Randall

      Comparing BM to the major banks is a stretch, at best. Maybe Bell should have gone into the banking business. They know as
      much about that realm as they do about broadcast. Blaming the regulator (CRTC?) for their dilemma is akin to blaming your parent
      because they allowed you to go diving in a shallow lake where you broke your neck. Refusing to take responsibility for their inability
      to turn a profit in a business they know nothing about is more like it. They should’ve stuck to telephones. I have no pity for Bell. That’s
      reserved for all of the broken dreams and jobless talent that didn’t deserve to be placed in that position.

      Reply
      1. Franco (Frank) Cavallaro

        Al
        you are absolutely right. The CRTC shouldv’e never allowed them to purchase all these radio & television stations. Upper management have no idea what they are doing. Rogers is next to let staff go.

        Reply
  8. Leon & Flora Guthrie

    It’s heart breaking to witness this news. We love CTV Montreal & all the people working there. We are missing CTV Montreal News at noon especially. Please reconsider this decision.

    Reply
  9. Philip

    What’s going to happen to the Trivia Show? Dan’s gone and Ken Connors is only still on CJAD after announcing his retirement due to some staff holidays. Isn’t he supposed to be leaving entirely soon? Will Sarah Deshaies take over or will they scrap the Trivia show entirely? I’ve already heard some listeners are going to boycott the program following Dan’s exit.

    Reply
    1. Gilles Larin

      Joseph Arthur Dupont is turning in his grave! CJAD is being run by Bell accountants! Why not just turn it into another C-RAP radio station, just like the others???

      Reply
    2. John Anderson Pittman

      If I am not mistaken, Dan was one of the reasons why the Trivia show lasted as long as it has, he was the person doing the research if not the most part.

      Reply
      1. Jim in Saratoga Springs NY

        Dan is an incredibly intelligent person…his evening program was one of the reasons i started listening to CJAD. As it stands now…I like Andrew Carter and the follow-up show…the rest of it is generally pretty meh. Very sad…I used to love CJAD for it’s uniqueness. Boring people wont increase ratings….which corresponds to ad dollars/

        Reply
    3. GE, Brooklyn, NYC

      Well, the moment Connors mentioned Dan’s departure, I clicked the station off. I won’t be back. Trivia Show was a weekly hang-out that I sincerely enjoyed. It was because of Dan. He WAS the Trivia Show — at least since Dave Fisher’s retirement.

      Reply
    4. Ethel Annett

      The listeners are not boycotting the Trivia Show. Letting Dan Laxer go is a crime. Looks like Ken Connors will be hanging around CJAD forever. He must have inside pull. No one can replace the late Dave Fisher anyway. Bell can have robots hosting the Trivia Show for all I care.

      Reply
  10. Michael Lacombe

    I’m glad that TSN 690 survived the cuts. Now that I’m retired, I’ve had the chance to listen to all their weekday shows, from early morning to the end of the afternoon, and it’s first-rate throughout their lineup. Mitch Melnik is as good as they come and he’s truly enjoyable to listen to as I have for many, many years, going back to his days at CJAD. We are fortunate to have this station and I’m thankful they’re still around, and equally thankful that they were spared any of these cuts. I realize sports radio is a niche, and this will always make them vulnerable, but their shows are so good that even when they discuss sports that are of lesser interest to me, or stories/issues that are not about sports at all, it’s always worth listening. That’s how good this station is, and all their on-air personnel.

    Reply
    1. T

      Once a good station but other than Melnick (even his show is starting to slide with allot of non sports talk) I do not know how some of the current hosts avoided the cutbacks. Use to be a regular listener, no longer since the departure of Tony Marinaro, Knuckles Nilan, Elliot Price.

      Reply
  11. Ken English

    Same types of stuff all over.
    I don’t think most listeners and viewers know what they are missing, and the rest don’t care. It’s too bad there isn’t a time machine that would let folks see how it was. Maybe if people were to feel a rage over what has been done, and how we’ve been robbed over the years, we could get back some of what was special in our lives.
    Or, maybe we just can’t compete with Tik-Tok and the excitement of sharing kitten pictures.

    Reply
  12. John Dykeman

    Hello: as a West Island senior, we have been cutting our infrastructure expenses, such as land line phones, and cable/fibre optic TV.
    Bell is probably seeing an erosion of subscribers fleeing TV cable and as a consequence, CTV broadcasting (we stopped watching TV shows 10 yrs ago…now its just YouTube for the grandkids, and Netflix)
    300 channels and nothings on.
    Bell is probably doing well with cell phone business. (but they are expensive choices compared to Koodo, or Chatr for example)
    Bell pensioners are well off with fat monthly checks that could support two rank and file workers.

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    We seem to forget that Bell got $40 millions from the Feds just before these cuts
    This is avarice plain and simple

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      We seem to forget that Bell got $40 millions from the Feds just before these cuts

      The new Online Streaming Act eliminated certain licensing fees for broadcasters, and that resulted in the $40 million savings for Bell. That’s not enough to make CTV profitable, but it certainly looks bad in hindsight, which is why the opposition parties that pushed for the amendment to the bill are struggling to pretend they never voted for it.

      Reply
  14. Mick

    They should have kept the noon news and remove the 5 pm news. When they merged AR and NH, I knew it was a matter of time before one of them would be let go…Time for a new radio/tv station! Who will replace Ken Conners on weekends? Still no announcement. Wouldn’t surprise me if no more local show on that time slot:(

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      They should have kept the noon news and remove the 5 pm news.

      That probably would have been a more expensive proposition. With newscasts at noon, 6pm and 11:30pm, you’d need at least two shifts of control room workers each weekday. Keeping 5pm, 6pm and 11:30, you could make it work with one.

      Reply
      1. Apple IIGS

        For viewers, a spread out newscast between noon and midnight is far more preferable and makes better sense. However, Bell is short sighted and it’s all about cost logistic, so they’ll do whatever saves them the most money, regardless of the end results.

        So to review, in recent years Bell has either fired or pushed out Catherine Sherriffs, Randy Tieman, Brian Wilde, Sean Coleman, Barry Wilson, Tarah Schwartz, Annie DeMelt, Paul Karwatsky, Jed Kahane, Cindy Sherwin, Amanda Kline and Vanessa Lee. Plus more legacy people like Mosé Persico, Lise McAuley and Derek Conlon. That’s just to name a few.

        At this point, we only have two names from the past left standing: Mutsumi Takahashi and Stephane Giroux (maybe Caroline Van Vlaardingen and Lori Graham too?) Watching CTV News was like a family of familiar faces we’ve grown to know over the years, but they’ve all been booted out. And I doubt these are the last cuts, I’m sure more will be laid off and weekend or evening broadcasts cut back or even eliminated in the coming months.

        Reply
        1. Norman Bates

          I cannot understand why CTV Montreal’s Lori Graham has not been offered another opportunity other than being stuck for decades as “the weather girl” unless she has deliberately refused any such promotion. And why would that be, unless there is something being kept discreet such as a possible, chronic health issue preventing her from realizing her full potential? Lori would have been the perfect replacement for Don McGowan on his sadly-discontinued “Travel Travel” show. Had they recruited her, a U.S. network would have promoted Lori long ago.

          It is also painfully clear that CJAD radio’s talk show radio hosts’ frequent attempts to engage Lori into becoming more voluble during her weather reports never get very far past her facade. Either Lori is the humblest person on the face of the earth or she simply has no ambition whatsoever.

          Montreal’s long-time, evening news anchor Bill Hoagland was clearly becoming long-in-the-tooth, so his retirement did not disappoint most viewers, while his co-anchor Mutsumi Takahashi continues to cling to her job despite consistently flubbing her lines from the teleprompter and looking more and more bored and awkward whenever she interviews someone. How much longer she will last is anyone’s guess.

          Annie de Melt was a welcome breath of fresh air during her all-too-brief stint as fill-in news anchor and should have replaced Mutsumi. I suspect one of the reasons behind Annie’s sudden resignation was because she realized she wasn’t going to get the job full time.

          Lise McAuley, quite frankly, looked drab and sloppy as the alternate weather girl and dreary Caroline Van Vlaardingen with her total lack of screen presence, has inexplicably survived years of layoffs and firings going back to the 1980s, perhaps even willing to take pay cuts in order to stay on?

          But then, blatant nepotism and cronyism runs rampant in the broadcast industry so we shouldn’t be surprised to see who manages to hang around.

          Reply
          1. Fagstein Post author

            Describing the job as “the weather girl” and needing “promotion” to a different job, while in the same paragraph mentioning Don McGowan, who had the same job, may be part of the problem here.

            Reply
          2. Apple IIGS

            Funny you should mention Lori Graham. It was just announced she will be leaving CTV at the end of this month (May 30, 2024 is her last day). I suspect Bell encouraged her to leave, but gave her the option to quit voluntarily.

            Whatever the reason, that just leaves Mutsumi, Stephane, Caroline and Rob as the only CTV staff left from the days before Bell’s take over of the station. I imagine they’ll depart in the near future.

            Reply
  15. Patrick T

    Lots of talent lost there – maybe not Natasha Hall – she was never charismatic or interesting – and said inappropriate things that made listeners cringe – but those like Kevin Gallagher will just leave Quebec and master their craft elsewhere- like many of us will eventually – the province is deteriorating with its cultural/political problems and let’s all not pretend that the pure laine francos love us and want us here – they despise anglos and want us all to go – they’d rather be destitute and poor but unilingual than rich and prosperous and economically stable – Bell Canada in Quebec is run by them – in case no one noticed – Legault is cheering.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Kevin Gallagher was a Parliament Hill correspondent, and had already left Quebec.

      Also it’s not like the TV news business is on a hiring spree in the rest of the country.

      Reply
    2. John Anderson Pittman

      You nailed my exact thoughts about Natasha Hall. I remember one time she was hosting the show solo as Aaron was off. A Canadian music group were guests when she asked the most inappropriate question I ever heard, literally akin to fingernails being scraped across a chalk board: “What is the worst city you have ever performed where the fans are your least favorite?” WHAT was she thinking!! Then one guest responded in a very tactfully manner making sure not to piss off any fans said: “All of our fans are our favorites”. She, like an elementary school child egged them on quite aggressively: “Oh come on, you must have more than one city, don’t you?” Once again the answer was presented in such a way it must have made her realize the error in judgement.

      Reply
      1. Norman Bates

        Too many female talk show hosts end up chattering on and on about their children. “My kid did, this…”,, “My kid won that…”, etc. etc., ad nauseum.

        Sure, we ought to be proud of our kids and enjoy watching them grow up, but there is a limit and radio listeners shouldn’t be obliged to endure the onslaught.

        I remember one woman sitting next to me in a workplace who simply could not talk about anything else other than her kid, while hardly ever mentioning her husband.

        I’m sure there must be a “condition” or “disorder” related to the compulsion by some women to brag about their children to anyone within hearing range.

        One solution would be to play back recordings of them going on and on about their kid(s) so that they will hopefully realize how annoying it all is.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Too many female talk show hosts end up chattering on and on about their children. “My kid did, this…”,, “My kid won that…”, etc. etc., ad nauseum.

          Have you listened to Virgin Mornings lately? Cousin Vinny talks about his kids too. But that doesn’t seem to be an issue for some reason.

          Reply
  16. Anonymous

    Bell is an amazing company that makes literally billions a year of profit. When they stick to their core competencies, they are pretty good at it. That competency is running a monopoly / duopoly business on services people actually need, such as internet and phone service. However, when it comes to broadcast, they aren’t quite as good, for a whole lot of reasons. Bell overall make between 2 and 4 billion in profit each year (about 10% of turn over, for what it’s worth)

    Bell media is doing what newspapers have been doing for decades, which is trying to “shrink to profitability”. They rarely seem to understand that each time they cut back services and cut back on content, they end up cutting back on income, which is turn triggers the next cuts. Wash, rinse, repeat. Rarely do they want to deal with the core problems of the business itself. Lack of effective competition (except from other near monopoly players) means that they have little real motivation to improvise or try to shake up a market. Most of their management seems to come from the Titanic Deck Chair training system. This is why Montreal still has Virgin on the air under that brand many, many years past it’s stale date. These is no reason to change, as it is what it is. It is the reason all the stations have the same news, same weather, same sports, and same everything – there is no reason to compete at all.

    Given the circumstances, the sales team isn’t exactly going to be out beating the bushes too hard, because they have nothing new to offer, nothing moving forward. Just the same old same old.

    The CRTC (and the federal government) have allowed a handful of companies to hold almost all of the media in Canada, and just as important, to control it’s distribution. It is not in Bell (or others) interest to divest themselves of radio stations to entities who might compete with them. It is much better to run them into the ground and take away all of their value, while keeping the stations online to block competition. Since the CRTC also triggers on a lack of profitability in a market, it helps to keep them from dealing with new competition.

    If CTV network (and local stations) are losing 100+ million and year and haven’t been profitable in over a decade, why are they still running the business? Most companies faced with a decade of steep losses would be getting out and getting out fast. Reference: Quebecor selling off regional and local newspapers. They figured out there was no saving the business and got the heck out. So why are Bell, Rogers, and such all staying in the game and not even suggesting to get out? Simply: They make money from the media side, but don’t want to admit it – and they work as monopoly players to profit from it.

    How? What does Bell sell for profit? Access. Phones, internet, and TV services. Imagine for a moment BellTV without local stations. Your basic package would be weather channels, government channels, and a few other mandatory carry channels and that would be it. Probably 10 channels max. Would you pay $30 a month for it? NOPE. You pay $30 a month for it for the local stations, the time shift local stations, the US network TV (mostly simsubed anyway). That is where Bell actually makes the money on media.

    It is somewhat longer and more complex and I know Steve hates these posts. Bell will continue to cut in all Media for as long as they can, as long as they can control the marketplace and keep people using their other profitable services. If you work there, you need to make your exit plan and execute it. There is no future in Canadian media as it stands.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      They rarely seem to understand that each time they cut back services and cut back on content, they end up cutting back on income

      These people aren’t idiots. They know that this can have an impact on revenue. But they’ve calculated that the cut to expenses exceeds the resulting loss in revenue. And with advertising declining overall, it’s hard to argue they’re wrong on that.

      If CTV network (and local stations) are losing 100+ million and year and haven’t been profitable in over a decade, why are they still running the business?

      CTV (and Global and Citytv) aren’t losing that much money, but they’re losing quite a bit. The main reason they’re still in business is that local TV stations and specialty channels are regulated as a group, and the groups are still making money overall. CTV is also an advertising medium for Bell and Bell Media products (which is why you see a lot of ads for Bell, Crave, etc. during CTV primetime shows). But we could get to the point where one of the big networks decides to throw in the towel because the math no longer works.

      Reference: Quebecor selling off regional and local newspapers. They figured out there was no saving the business and got the heck out. So why are Bell, Rogers, and such all staying in the game and not even suggesting to get out?

      Bell is selling almost half its radio stations and has shut down channels like ESPN Canada and MTV2. Rogers shut down 1310 AM in Ottawa. There is a retreat here, though it’s starting slow.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Not idiots? Were they not idiots on the about 100 other cuts to profitability they have made, only to see their listenership / viewership / local markets continue to fall? Advertising revenue falls with the falling viewership, which falls more with poorer quality content and little in the way to change it.

        The real alure of local stations remains the ability to simsub easily and to control how the whole country sees it. Bell and CTV see a marginal profit in these areas in part by (as you said) heavily promoting their own businesses during those times. However, that is another indication that (a) there are not enough paying advertisers, and (b) that much of overall structure of the big players is sort a tangled mess. Given an independent CTV network and stations (not owned by Bell) you would assure they would either pay substantially more for advertising time (as they get sales / value) or they would back away and allow others to buy ad time. Tied together, the left hand and right hand are generally clasped firmly together, in a sort of business death grip as they try to hold each other up in the air.

        The radio station thing is a bit of daylight honestly. Bell appears to be selling off mostly small market stations, ones they have burdened with the most incredibly anonymous national branding. It is exactly what they have done with CTV and the local stations, creating a uniform grey that most people just aren’t dealing with well. Radio is more often than not about personality and local connection.

        You will notice that many of the stations being sold are the ones getting dragged down by the generic “country” “move” and “bounce” non connecting brands. Bell is very good and making things so dull, uninteresting, and about as memorable as radio static.

        The bad side is that many of the stations are being sold to mini-gloms, the smaller sized big players who fish mostly in secondary markets. Arsenal Media appears to be well on its way to being the one stop shop for rural quebec franco radio. Vista seems intent on locking up a similar position for anglo rural BC.

        It is also very unfortunate that they cannot split the stations out and selling them apart. Too much stuff is interlinked and connected, with shared studios and facilities. So in each market, they seem to have transferred their duopoly type position to someone else. For consumers, this may not be a big improvement.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          I’m not going to defend Bell Media’s business decisions, but the point of their cuts is that they cut expenses. Yes, that can have an effect on advertising revenue, but their bet is that the decrease in ad revenue is not greater than the decrease in expenses, and so it makes them more money. Maybe their calculations on that bet are wrong, but that is the math they’re using.

          The real alure of local stations remains the ability to simsub easily and to control how the whole country sees it.

          Yes, though a lot of what’s on U.S. network TV these days is waning in popularity with Canadian audiences. How many NCIS or Law & Order or Chicago series do Canadians really want to watch?

          It is also very unfortunate that they cannot split the stations out and selling them apart.

          If someone wanted to make an interesting offer for an individual radio station, Bell or the other companies might listen. But the overhead required to run a radio station is a lot (not as much as it used to be, but still a lot), and especially in small markets it’s very hard to run a standalone commercial station profitably.

          Reply
          1. Jim

            I think what they truly neglect is that the product drives ratings which drives revenue. Boring people to death won’t solve things w Bell… they seem to be getting good at that.

            Reply
          2. Anonymous

            When you cut services, when you cut connections, you long term lose listenership / viewership. In radio, combined those cuts with a desire to make everything the same, using single source news, weather, sports, and traffic) and listeners just sort of tune out. they have played the same game over and over and gotten the same results, yet they oddly play the same thing again.

            For programming, if people wanted to see something else, who would provide it? The situation both in radio and TV has little real competition in many markets. In Montreal, Bell cuts say morning hosts from one station, but their other stations don’t do the competitive thing and try to get those listeners over to their station. On air staff can’t easily move station to station because Bell owns a significant part of them. Only movements has been mostly between The Beat and Virgin. Otherwise, it is crickets.

            A stand along radio station is worth say X. But when it’s in a common building, with common equipment, common transmitter facilities, and so on, buying the single station is no longer a simple deal. It would effectively be buying only the license and good will. New studios, new transmitters (with engineering, approvals, and installation) and so on. It is sort of like once you turn three steaks into hamburger, it’s pretty hard to make it back into steaks. It is actually Bell’s intentions on everything, leaving the CRTC with not much to say about purchases or sales.

            Reality now is that after decades of milking the cow and putting nothing back, radio (and TV) have lost the battle to better service models. Instead of embracing those models and integrating, they have resisted massively against them. The end results are very different than they could be. Radio may be a mostly lost cause, but TV is not. But the Canadian duopoly style ownership schemes have put local stations on the endangered species list.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              Buying a radio station these days usually means buying the licence, the transmitter (or transmitter site lease) and the brand, assuming you’re not just buying the company that owns the station. Deals could include things like office equipment and studios but they don’t have to. Setting up a studio isn’t that difficult these days.

              We’ve seen enough sales of radio stations to know that while it can be a lot of paperwork (especially with the CRTC and accountants) it’s entirely doable, even for stations that are part of large groups like Bell. We saw it with the divestments Bell made when it acquired Astral Media, and we’ll see it with the 45 stations Bell is selling to several different owners.

              There is definitely a lack of competition in the Montreal radio market, mainly because of the CRTC rules that allow one owner to have up to four stations in each language in the same city. But that’s a separate matter.

              Reply
              1. Anonymous

                The ownership concentration actually isn’t a separate matter. It’s a core issue. When a couple of players own most of the stations, there is little competition and little desire to make the product better. Sort of what happens when every other restaurant is a McD or Timmies. The quality suffers when they attempt to squeeze profits out of the product rather than selling a better product.

                If you look at the sales of the 45 bell stations, they are selling them in blocks. They aren’t selling 3 stations in any one place to three different buyers, it is all the to the same owner. There is no breaking up of oligopoly in a given market place, just a change of the name on the door of a big part of most markets radio stations. So that means not three competitive stations, but the same three not in competition with themselves.

                In any other business, losing as much money as they claim, Bell would have gotten out of all of it a long time ago. I think you need to poke a little deeper to understand what is really going on and why they aren’t running away.

            2. Eamon Hoey

              Bell is a dumb purchaser and asset seller. The remaining stations will be sold to whoever shows up. Currently, the remaining radio stations are being managed by bookkeepers. They will be worthless in a year. If there is one thing Bell does well is to drive value out of an asset. The value of the stations is priced on cash flow less a 50% discount. The leadership just wants to get the asset off their books. Whoever buys will do an asset purchase. Do not think there are a lot of bright people around Bell. They are easily impressed by people with blue Italian suits and briefcases. That’s it.

              Reply
            3. Eamon Hoey

              Radio as a local medium will do fine. It might also be OK as a national or regional news outlet. Audiences will turn to radio as a first source in the case of emergencies. However, streaming and YouTube have made TV networks obsolete. I do not see TV networks surviving at least not so in their current business model.

              Some of the posts emphasize the CRTC’s regulatory role in the sale of stations. Their only concern will be who are the new prospective owners of Bell’s assets. Do they meet their minimum ownership criteria? The CRTC is a spent force that has turned its focus almost exclusively on the big 4, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. They need the revenue these international US-based companies can bring to the table to fund CBC. That is their focus. Other than that they might try to create a false appearance of creating competition in the cellular market. That is just not going to happen. The duopoly structure they introduced in the late 1990’s will continue, it is solidly baked into the industry structure.
              Eamon
              Eamon

              Reply
      2. DB

        As I pointed out above, CTV lost more than $120 M last year – check the link. Why doesn’t Bell sell it? I believe the reason is that Bell has centralized its programming, advertising and news production which means detangling CTV from CTV Comedy, Drama and Science will be difficult and expensive. For example, Big Bang Theory airs on CTV, Crave and Comedy. Selling CTV would leave Bell with the full cost of the show plus it would lose the ad revenue from CTV. Bell may be able to offset some of the cost by licensing the show to CTVs buyers, if the buyers want it and if Bell has the right to license the show.

        In addition, Bell likely has master advertising agreements with its advertisers that covers ad rates, volume discounts, etc across all of its channels. Selling CTV would mean all of those agreements would need to be renegotiated, and you can bet, most of the advertisers would demand better terms.

        Bell’s news content is spread across CTV, CTV newsnet, CP24, and BNN (the last 3 are profitable). Selling CTV and keeping the other 3 means splitting up the news production, which would likely increase costs for newsnet, cp24 and bnn.

        All of this means Bell will cut costs to try and improve CTVs results or it will sell Bell Media.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          CTV lost more than $120 M last year – check the link. Why doesn’t Bell sell it?

          Sell to whom? Who wants to buy a money-losing TV network?

          The real-answer is what you touched on — CTV and Bell Media’s specialty channels are part of the same ecosystem now, and splitting them up would make CTV lose even more money while making the specialty channels less profitable. So far, Bell is willing to eat that loss, but it is trimming aggressively and lobbying even more so. If someone had a serious and reasonable offer for CTV, Bell might be listening, but I don’t see that happening. Otherwise, if CTV’s losses become untenable, shutting it down might be the end result.

          Reply
          1. Anonymous

            … or perhaps the more obvious answer is that a loss in one place in the overall Bell group of companies is greatly offset by the income that money losing section is losing? You know, selling cable subscriptions?

            I think we can all agree that, if the local channels (and networks for that matter) were not financially tied to the distributors, that they likely would have pushed for changes to allow them to get paid for use of their signals like the US. One side or the other of the political spectrum certainly would have given into that idea.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              I think we can all agree that, if the local channels (and networks for that matter) were not financially tied to the distributors, that they likely would have pushed for changes to allow them to get paid for use of their signals like the US.

              That’s exactly what happened before they were bought out by telecom companies. And they succeeded in getting the CRTC to agree to the plan, but it was overturned in court. Had they continued to push, they might have convinced the government to put through legislative change, but I’m not sure that would have saved them.

              Reply
              1. Anonymous

                … and given the situation, it is likely that the government would enact just such legislation. They haven’t had to consider it because of the left pocket / right pocket nature of the current situation, one that Bell, Rogers and the like are desperate to keep as it is. If they actually had to pay for the content, their near monopoly distribution businesses would suddenly be a lot less profitable.

                Put simply: Bell makes so much money on distribution that they can lose their asses on CTV and local stations and still come out ahead.

              2. Fagstein Post author

                Put simply: Bell makes so much money on distribution that they can lose their asses on CTV and local stations and still come out ahead.

                This is true, as their current financial statements would confirm. But Bell doesn’t need to own CTV and local stations to make this money. It could shut down or sell off CTV or even Bell Media as a whole and make money as a pure telecom company like Telus. But Bell likes to have its hands in a lot of related industries so that’s probably not going to happen soon.

              3. Anonymous

                “Bell doesn’t need to own CTV and local stations to make this money”

                I don’t think that is correct. If CTV and local stations were owned by others (ie, not another vertically integrated media company), the government of the day would have been forced to deal with the issues as local channels dropped off the map.

                Bell can’t sell what doesn’t exist – connectivity to channels no longer on the air wouldn’t be worth anything at all.

                In my mind, the local channels (and networks) would have pushed hard to get cable companies to pay for content, and given the alternative, the government would have no choice but to do so. They only have to look at the extremely vibrant US local market places to understand what a difference it makes.

                Bell wants to keep control of local everything so nobody upsets the money making apple cart.

  17. Norman Bates

    While Bell has clearly been arbitrary with their job cuts, there is no escaping the fact that the younger generations will continue to be drawn to (i.e. hypnotized by) the addictive, online social media services that–like glassy-eyed zombies–they carry around on their smart phones.

    If at some future date Bell ever does decide to sell off its Montreal English-language Radio and television divisions, we better hope that they aren’t purchased by some French monolith which, rest assured, would have little or no interest in what our minority requires to maintain our legitimate media access rights in this province.

    How many remember when back in the ’70s and ’80s Videotron began acquiring various English cable services such as National Cablevision? The writing was pretty much on the wall then as to what the future would hold regarding what TV channels they would provide, even blatantly removing some English channels and replacing them with French ones, depending even on what part of the Island of Montreal subscribers resided in. For example, “Much Music” was not available to Videotron subscribers in the east end. They got “Music Plus”, like it or not.

    Worst case scenario: if some future federal government ever recklessly decides to give in to political pressure and hand over broadcasting rights to Quebec (something the separatists have been dreaming about for decades) all it would take would be for some nationalist management to pull the plug on English-language radio and TV stations altogether, leaving our community no choice but to use online, satellite, and/or subscription services.

    Montreal’s existing English AM and FM radio stations would be required to revert to French language programming or have their licenses revoked. You can count on it. CJAD’s “Montreal Now” would become “Montreal Maintenant”. Would Aaron Rand and Elias Makos happily obey the Language Police or resign?

    Some future, xenophobic Quebec government might even attempt to block English Internet website access or perhaps be “generous” by only billing us extra for the “privilege”, never mind that most French subscribers would undoubtedly want access to English websites as well. Dystopia?

    I stopped watching the decades-long-established, weekly English-language, Montreal Canadiens on “Hockey Night in Canada” when Bell decided to keep it off of from their Basic Channels grid, and despite the questionable “blame” for that unacceptable deletion having reputedly been placed elsewhere, I refuse to watch the French play-by-play with the volume off while listening to the time-delayed English play-by-play on AM radio.

    I will never pay a penny more to “upgrade” to Bell’s higher-priced channel grid which also includes garbage like Crave and other such frivolous programming, nor will I become a slave to Netflix and its various competitors.

    Do I sound angry? You bet!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Competition in television service means if Videotron were to remove popular English channels from its service (like AMC, for example), people could simply switch to another provider. A quick look at Videotron’s channel guide shows the ratio of French to English channels at about 1:3.

      As for the possibility of Quebec gaining full powers over broadcasting regulations and then using that to outlaw English-language broadcasting, this has not been seriously proposed by anyone with the potential power to implement it. So it makes about as much sense to be outraged about this as it does any other paranoid fantasy.

      Reply
      1. Marc

        The Parizeau administration’s 1995 Sovereignty bill stated that all radio and TV stations would be integrated into the then Radio-Québec network. As we know RQ became Télé-Québec in 1997. Had all that come to pass who knows what would have actually happened.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          The bill does not mention broadcasting at all. It’s not that specific. And I don’t see why an independent Quebec government would outlaw private television.

          Reply
          1. Eamon Hoey

            Do not be surprised if the Cons give Radio Canada TV and radio to the Quebec Government. The Conservatives evolving policy is to devolve authority to the provinces. It is not a radical idea, as Ontario operates TVO in French and English. The question that would arise is: would the federal government grant Quebec regulatory authority over broadcasting within Quebec? Initially, the federal government would pay Quebec an annual sum to operate the service within Quebec. Quebec would provide a feed to CBC for it to transmit programming to French-speaking areas such as Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Quebec would be responsible for all program content. The Cons would then be free to tackle the dismemberment of CBC English. It’s no secret that the Cons have a deep distrust for CBC. So no one should be surprised at the possibility of a restructuring of CBC. The reason to be advanced is based on the reality that Radio Canada is by far a much better operation than CBC English. Eamon

            Reply
    1. Apple IIGS

      That was a tradition at CFCF-12! People may forget, but they aired the The Flintstones *everyday* at noon for decades, right up until they were bought by Bell in 2001. Seriously, I remember back in the late 70’s, my kindergarten teacher wheeled out a TV (with rabbit ears) and we’d watch The Flintstones on CFCF-12 at lunchtime!

      I recently bought the complete series on Blu-ray, to kinda relive and emulate those days of CFCF-12. Sadly, I’ll likely spend more time watching those Flintstones Blu-rays than CTV Montreal these days.

      There is nothing left of the station at this point, it’s been stripped of any identity or uniqueness (save for two newscaster faces from the 80’s: Mutsumi and Stephane). Bringing back The Flintstones would be cool, but it’d be unique to the station, and Bell wants all their CTV stations identical drones, so no, it’ll never happen. Ditto for any other unique content. The channel is pretty much dead to me at this point, or will be once the remaining three or four pre-Bell era newscasters are shown the door.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Not just the Flintstones. They also ran in rotation, “Rocket Robin Hood”, “The Pink Panther Show”, and “Spider-man” 1960’s version. I even remember they running Movies right after the cartoon show at 12:30 pm.

        Reply
        1. Apple IIGS

          I definitely remember watching those other 60’s cartoons at noon, but are you sure those weren’t aired over on CJOH-8? (Ottawa’s CTV station). Or maybe it was on rotation only during the summer months, but I do distinctly remember it being CJOH, not CFCF. I also remember “Max, the 2000-Year-Old Mouse” following those, but tended to skip it. It was more a dry educational show than anything entertaining like the aforementioned shows.

          CFCF-12 also aired Mighty Hercules, even well into the 90’s during early mornings (around 5:30 or 6 AM).

          Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Damn right. These say their loosing money, but program crap all day long.
      Just look at MeTV programming retro shows all day. People are watching this stuff. Much better than the current crap they make for TV.
      MeTV is on WPTZ-TV 5.3 in the Montreal area. You’ll need a TV antenna as it’s not on Montreal cable.

      Reply
  18. gemma

    This is a shame for most of the people who were let go, but personally I am happy to see Natasha Hall gone.

    Contrary to Aaron Rand’s opinion, I found her to have surprisingly little knowledge on most issues and a shrill manner of speaking.. I was bored by her constant stories about her child. The first time that I heard her on CJAD, I thought that she was one of those people that the station picked up at the shopping mall, like Lorrie and Olga. (Although Lorrie and Olga were, at least, funny).

    Reply
  19. Marco Knee

    How many hosts are still employed by CJAD? I count 4 including Ken Connors (will they ever let the man retire?). Not counting weekend afternoons since they are all likely doing brokered content. Everything else is national, syndicated, or from Toronto. I actually like Jim Richards though.

    Looks like David Heurtel is being groomed to join the cast but he’s got a job at a law firm which I assume is a cushy sinecure. Once Andrew Carter retires I think the station will collapse into itself like a black hole.

    Reply
  20. Roxanne

    I aggre with the comments above. Like almost every where, people with experience they being let go and replaced by others with small salaries and total lack of experience.
    Bell still thinks that is not making enough money, even if they raised the prices for all service’s, giving less and less.
    I wish more competition will be available, to be able to loose some of the clients
    I’m very sorry to see all this people gone. The one left, trying hard to compensate, but it’s not easy. It used to be more interesting before. Now they send you on line to finish reading certain articles, and the un important once they being mentioned briefly during the news cast.
    Very sad. A different approach but nit a successful one

    Reply
  21. David M.

    So the departure of Natasha Hall is welcome. Her voice, and her cockeyed opinions used to bother me, and others in my social network. Aaron Rand had to be dumded down to deal with her. Although also not my favorite broadcaster, he now sounds far more intelligent that he doesnt have to deal with her. The other departures are really no great loss. It is a shame though that CJAD has degenerated to such a low point.

    Reply
  22. Anonymous

    On a side note. Since Bell Media owns 6 radio stations in the Montreal broadcast market. 4 English, and 2 French stations. And it seems they are bent on squeezing the life out of them. A lone wolf small station CFQR-AM 600 is trying once again put some life into their station. They seem to have announced some movement in programming. At least somebody is trying. Hopefully they’ll succeed this time around.

    CFQR600.com

    Reply
  23. Philip

    With the news of Joanne Vrakas joining, will she also take over the Trivia Show as well? If so, I wonder who she will co host it with? I know a lot of people are unhappy about the fact that Dan Laxer is no longer a part of it. I wonder if they will keep i t going with Vrakas and her yet unknown cohost?

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      My guess is a rotation of the cackling Sarah Deshaies and bitter sounding producer of E Makos Show, whose name escapes me. I had assumed D Laxer was the heir apparent to K Connor. It’s a shame as he was more knowledgeable than these two, who don’t seem to know much in the way of trivia.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        I think it is much more likely that in order to save money, CJAD will lose the trivia show entirely, and go with vapid talk about how living in Greece was so different from Montreal, and political views from people you don’t care about. Anything as long as it can be done cheaply.

        Reply
        1. Al

          I noted eons ago that the reason CJAD was doing so well in the Anglo Montreal market was because they have NO competition. Nothing there has changed. What HAS changed is the way in which the current ownership of the outlet navigates its property. From a once integral part of the community in its heyday with Standard Broadcasting (pre the Slaight days), under Bell Media, the station has devolved into not much more than a repeater for CFRB in Toronto and the associated BM network. Local focus in news and most other areas has been strangled by the moves. What’s left is a shadow of its former excellence. Aside from Aaron Rand in PM drive, local talent is either mediocre at best or completely non-existent. I don’t blame the local management crew for this. Their marching orders come from the mothership. They’re probably just as frustrated about the situation as many listeners are. But to keep their jobs, compliance with the dictates is required. The ONE shining star of the weekend has, for many years, been the Trivia Show. If the BM T.O. suits see fit to remove it from the grid, they will have completely destroyed that block. This happens when you get bean counters who know nothing about the history and traditions of a property calling the shots instead of BROADCASTERS who are the ones that should be making those decisions. Another nail in the Canadian broadcast landscape coffin thanks to a twisted regulator that is woefully incompetent at its mandate.

          Reply
          1. Anonymous

            I think you will see that Vrakas will take over for Ken Conners, who will be allowed to take a graceful retirement, about the only respectful thing CJAD will do in this whole mess. With that, the Trivia Show will fade into memory, it’s existence becoming sort of radio trivia for those of us old enough to remember.

            Reply
            1. Anonymous

              …and there you go. Ken Conners takes the door and Bell gives him the bells and whistles wall to wall coverage as he does it. So he is done and likely so is the trivia show and all that goes with it.

              It is easy to write these scripts, Steve doesn’t believe it but there ya go.

              Reply
  24. Ethel Annett

    I see many comments about Natasha Hall being let go. She has no talent, a weird voice for talk radio. Not very clever. She was a temporary fill in for the great Barry Morgan. Unfortunately some of these people will probably never work in radio in Montreal again. Sarah Deshaies an up and coming professional. Leslie Roberts pulled a few strings to land his daughter Lauren Fernandes Roberts on board at Bell Media. It’s all about who you know now a days. Too bad so sad.

    Reply
  25. H. C.

    thank God (pun intended) Natasha Hall is gone. she was the incarnation of the most radical and thus unbearable form of “wokeism”, on CJAD. it was too much. every time she started talking, I immediately zapped the station, went to another channel. good riddance.

    Reply

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