Bell has shit-canned 200+ employees including many on-air personalities at Newstalk 1010 (CFRB), half from newsrooms. This action was part of a so-called “streamlined operating structure”. At Newstalk 1010, it appears they have trashed the entire newsroom, reporters and all, and it looks like they are going to go with CTV television broadcasts on radio.
I haven’t sorted out the carnage completely yet. Looks like their hosting line-up is shaking down more or less like this: John Moore followed by their cranky right-wing voice, Jerry Agar, then Evan Solomon, whose show has been running nationally. The drive-home show, “The Rush” appears to have been expanded, and Barb DiGiulio has been fired and replaced by Jamil Jivani. I believe Jim Richards and his “Showgram” have been sent packing. I think they trashed some of the weekend programming as well. I wonder if the station still has their traffic reporters?
I have a love-hate relationship with talk radio (and Newstalk 1010 was where I get my fix). I appreciated the local news voices there and the fact they had real reporters on the streets chasing stories. The strong local news voice was backed up by plenty of panel discussions which were generally lively and entertaining. On the other hand talk radio demonstrates very limited imagination and sometimes it’s obvious the hosts have little content beyond re-hashing to death the day’s top stories. The hosts on talk radio are much more casual than on public broadcasting (a good and bad thing at the same time I think) and some of the opinions they express are off the wall. Still, listen to a lot of talk radio and the hosts become friendly voices, even the ones you might regularly disagree with.
It figures the co-hosts of The Rush afternoon program have taken on an expanded role – that is one Newstalk 1010 show I simply can’t listen to. It seems like they are trying to grab a younger audience with hosts who are trying so hard to be regular guys. I have no idea what the ratings look like for this station. For all I know the show is popular – just not with me.
It seems to be amazingly crappy timing for Bell to do a mass layoff on the heels of “Bell Let’s Talk Day” supporting mental health initiatives. I hope all the folks who lost their jobs are OK, and can find alternate employment reasonably quickly. I know it won’t be easy for them, since news-related jobs have been disappearing for a few years now. I know from my own work experience, when people I worked with for years were “disappeared” all around me, that even though I continued to work and m pay continued to come in, it was an incredibly difficult, anxious, cold and ugly experience.
Tuffy P and I usually wake up to the Moore in the Morning show, and I guess for now we’ll continue to do so. I think he is the strongest of their hosts by far, and I’m glad he’s still broadcasting. Beyond that, there isn’t much left for me on CFRB – can we even still call it Newstalk 1010 since they’ve given up any attempt at news reporting?
I’m sad that good people have lost their jobs. I’m also sad that journalism in this city has been dealt another blow. Let me finish this post by quoting some Tweets by former Newstalk 1010 newsman Dave Agar….