Canada’s largest media and telecom company, Bell Media, has announced significant changes to its television newscasts and other programming following the parent company’s decision to lay off 4,800 employees and sell 45 of its regional radio stations.
Impact on News Stations
In an internal memo addressed to Bell Media employees, it was revealed that news stations like CTV and BNN Bloomberg would be immediately affected by these changes. Furthermore, the company plans to sell radio stations located in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.
Changes to Newscasts
The memo, signed by Dave Daigle, Vice President of Local TV, Radio, and Bell Media Studios, and Richard Gray, Vice President of News at Bell Media, outlined specific changes to newscasts. Weekday noon newscasts at all CTV stations, with the exception of Toronto, will be discontinued. Additionally, weekend newscasts at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. will no longer be aired at all CTV and CTV2 stations, except for Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.
Bell Media’s parent company, BCE Inc., recently announced a reduction of its workforce by 9%. Mirko Bibic, Chief Executive of BCE Inc., stated in an open letter that approximately 4,800 jobs across all levels of the company will be cut. However, fewer than 10% of these job cuts are specific to Bell Media. The company aims to minimize layoffs by utilizing vacancies and natural attrition.
Impact on Employees
The Unifor union disclosed that out of the total affected by the Bell cuts, around 800 members represented by the union were laid off. Approximately 100 of these layoffs were from the media sector, with the remaining being from the telecom sector. Some employees have already received notifications or will be informed of their job cuts on Thursday, while the rest will be informed by the spring.
Changes to “W5” Investigative Series
As part of the restructuring, the long-running investigative series “W5” will undergo a significant transformation. The internal memo sent to Bell Media employees states that the award-winning program will no longer exist in its current form. Instead, it will evolve into a multi-part, multiplatform investigative reporting unit. The reports produced by this unit will be featured on CTV National News, the CTV News website, and other CTV platforms.
These changes represent a substantial shift in Bell Media’s programming strategy and workforce composition, reflecting the rapidly changing media landscape and the company’s efforts to adapt to new challenges.