Hamilton TV station CHCH is cancelling an afternoon news program amid broader cuts to local coverage.
The news came on a tense Friday when an evening newscast was cancelled and certain staffers discovered that money had suddenly appeared in their bank accounts, The Hamilton Spectator reported.
Greg O'Brien, the editor at Cartt.ca, a website that reports news around the cable and telecom industries, tweeted a statement by Romen Podzyhun, CEO of Channel Zero Inc., who said the station won't be shutting down, but it will "significantly" change its programming.
So, CHCH News Now has been cancelled.— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) December 11, 2015
"We have experienced challenges in the past few years that have led us to make a very difficult decision."— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) December 11, 2015
Station is not shutting down and there will be local news. But facing "greatly reduced funding in national ad revenue"— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) December 11, 2015
"In order to ensure the conte>
tinued broadcasting of CHCH, we have made some significant changes to our programming schedule..."— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) December 11, 2015
"which will result in fewer overall hours of local news being aired."— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) December 11, 2015
"This decision will allow us to continue to deliver local stories that matter most to this community."— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) December 11, 2015
Looks like they'll have have a formatted @CHCHNews on Monday. Likely lots smaller. Far fewer hours of local.— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) December 11, 2015
"Many of the faces you have grown to love over the years will remain."— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) December 11, 2015
So, @CHCHTV pulled all news off immediately. I'm sure fuller details will come out AFTER they tell employees, which they're doing now.— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) December 11, 2015
Ugh. Writing about so many cutbacks this yr. Bell, Shaw, CBC, now CHCH. I feel awful, so I can only imagine how my friends there are feeling— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) December 11, 2015
The announcement came amid news that Channel 11 L.P., a company that has run CHCH's local news for the past six years, has filed for bankruptcy.
Changes to the station's programming will result in fewer hours of local news, but its 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts on weekday will remain. Its Morning Live program will also return on Tuesday.
Podzyhun's update also came following a Spectator report in which staffers said they discovered unexpected deposits in their bank accounts. An anonymous employee told the newspaper that the money was roughly equivalent to two paycheques.
Employees also arrived that day to learn that Friday's 6 p.m. CHCH newscast was cancelled, but they were still filing stories anyway.
CHCH News tweeted this:
Thank you everyone for all the good thoughts. We will keep you updated.— CHCH News (@CHCHNews) December 11, 2015
And CHCH News anchor Phil Perkins tweeted as follows:
CHCH has been broadcasting to the Hamilton, Halton and Niagara areas since 1954.
It was acquired by Channel Zero in 2009.
News of the changes at CHCH comes about a month after Bell Media announced job cuts that would affect 380 positions in Toronto and Montreal, most of which were in editorial and production.
Big names such as TSN hosts Sheri Forde and Michael Landsberg were affected by the cuts.
Forde was laid off, while Landsberg's show "Off the Record" was cancelled, though he held on to a job at TSN.
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