>> Announcer: This is 'A' Morning.
>> Kurt: Well good morning everybody.
>> Sandra: A very early good morning!
>> Kurt: yes, indeed. Good morning to you two.
>> Sandra: Good morning to you two! >> Bill: Good morning, Kurt.
>> Kurt: What are you doing here?
>> Bill: Good morning! >> Sandra: we're not sure yet!
>> Kurt: Hi, Leanne. >> Bill: Where's my coffee?
>> Kurt: There's some at my desk, I made it for you and you didn't come back and get it.
>> Bill: I'm gonna take yours here.
>> Kurt: Listen, welcome aboard to a brand new, revamped, reworked version of 'A' Morning
and it's good have with us Sandra Blaikie and Bill Welychka, welcome.
>> Sandra: We're delighted to be here.
>> Kurt: Good to have you here.
>> Sandra: It's gonna be a new show, and slightly new approach.
We've got some deeper resources, more resources, it's going to be an expanded four hour program.
>> Bill: And I like what Leanne said -- we were off the air, she goes
"It's more of the same, but also more better things." There's a lot of good things.
>> Sandra: You're talking about yourself, aren't you!
>> Kurt: We hope you're gonna enjoy it.
>> Leanne: Yes, right. Same segments, a lot of the same specials.
A lot of the similar things that you're used to seeing every morning with a lot of
added bonuses too.
>> Kurt: And there's more of us.
>> Kurt: There's more people, more time -- we're on 'till 10:00 now, starting today.
>> Sandra: And you know I do have to say we have this constant tug of war with our
producers because we're always very tight for time.
>> Kurt: Yes.
>> Sandra: This is luxury, now we have lots of time, we can take our time
>> Kurt: Wait 'till you get to know them a little better.
>> Bill: Hopefully they do know
>> Leanne: We ate it up so quickly!
>> Bill: But of course it has all the weather, all the traffic, all the information,
all the news you need to start your day, and we are honoured to deliver it to you.
>> Sandra: Absolutely.
>> Kurt: And Angie Porrier is with us, she's actually at a fun place that maybe --
Bill, you and I should check out sometime.
>> Sandra: Well a very difficult day here at 'A' Ottawa yesterday.
Unique challenges in conventional television and the deepening recession forced our parent
company CTV Globemedia to cancel our evening, late night and weekend newscasts.
That meant layoffs for 30 of our full-time and 4 of our part-time colleagues here in
Ottawa and at our news centre in Pembroke.
It's part of a system wide restructuring involving 118 layoffs.
CTV is forecasting a loss of $100 million in its conventional television sector this year.
Be sure to stay with us, our Vice President and General Manager Richard Gray will join
me a little later to talk about this very difficult decision.
That's coming up a little later.
>> Sandra: And welcome back to 'A' Morning. A little look at the morning commute, not
bad at all, people moving pretty smoothly as they head into the downtown core.
I'm upstairs right now at CFRA with Steve Madley.
Nice to see you sir.
>> Steve: Good to see you. And I wish it wasn't under these circumstances
of us losing our close friends, but they're such talented people that they are gonna land
on their feet; I know that, and you know, it's tough times around for everybody in
a lot of businesses, and it was a sad day here yesterday -- it's still sad as we say
goodbye to a couple of colleagues.
>> Sandra: Very, very sad.
>> Steve: We're gonna be looking at the whole issue later, but you know, CRTC is holding
hearings April 27, and this is critical for local television service across the country,
no matter what network, TV is in big trouble in terms of the revenue stream, and then you've
got this perfect storm of an economic downturn and advertising revenues falling, that's affecting
television and newspapers in particular, and starting to affect radio as well.
>> Sandra: And it's such an important -- if I can get on my soapbox -- such an important
service for the community.
>> Steve: Yeah, and I'm hoping that they find a solution on the revenue side, otherwise
we're gonna see a lot of local television stations just fizzle.
So lets hope those hearings go well.
>> Sandra: Now to the other big story -- certainly in our neck of the woods.
In case you haven't heard, we had a very difficult day here at 'A' News yesterday, now 'A' Morning.
We're not alone, it's a problem being felt in conventional television
right across the country. So we wanted to give you a better sense of
what we're going through in our industry, and why we had to do what we did.
We're joined right now by our Vice President and General Manager Richard Gray.
Thanks for being here so early this morning.
>> Richard: Thanks Sandra, I appreciate it.
>> Sandra: Let's start first of all, not an easy day to get through,
not an easy decision to make.
>> Richard: No, a very difficult day for this television station yesterday, with the decision
to cancel our 6:00, 11:00 and weekend newscasts.
And the decision to terminate 34 staff people, and...
>> Sandra: We lost some great people.
>> Richard: We lost some absolutely great people, and we were not alone, 118 people
lost their jobs yesterday at 'A' stations across the country as morning shows in Victoria
and London and in Barrie were cancelled, and as I said, the suppertime, late
and weekend newscasts here.
>> Sandra: And the irony of all of this is this is not about people turning away,
not wanting us.
This is about a very real structural problem in conventional television.
>> Richard: Yeah, the conventional television business has struggled for the last couple
of years, and we characterize it now as being broken, and significantly and severely broken.
We are faced with a number of enormous challenges, monumental challenges.
Audiences are tuning away from conventional television generally.
Advertisers have many more choices to make, with the rise of the internet and various
The economic slowdown have all lead us to a point where our business
is busted, as I said.
You know, and we need to look at -- we need to look at doing business, moving forward
very, very differently, and that's why we made the decisions that we made yesterday,
and we need from the Canadian government and the arm of the Canadian government, the CRTC,
an understanding that times have changed substantively for us and perhaps --
not just perhaps, it's necessary now for them to look at the rules
governing our industry and make some substantive changes to those.
>> Sandra: And for the viewers out there, because I know we're already starting to
get a lot of -- people are very shocked, very upset about what they're seeing.
What can we tell them?
We're gonna deliver the best darn product we can in the morning now.
>> Richard: Absolutely, and we've taken steps beginning today to expand our morning show.
It's gonna be a four-hour daily show now instead of three.
We're also adding a Saturday edition of that program that's gonna run from 7:00 to 9:00.
So you know, we very much are beefing up resources and beefing up our product offerings at a
time of day that people are watching, and at a time of day that we're on the air with
local programming, but there's just no more 6:00, 11:00 and weekend
newscasts at this station.
>> Sandra: And I suspect we'll be checking in with you over the course of the coming
months as we see how this proceeds, as we go though this regulatory process.
>> Richard: Yeah, very much so. You know -- I guess the next key date with
respect to sitting before the CRTC is April 27.
At that time, we sit before them and talk about some of the challenges,
some of the struggles. And we probably, at that time, will make an
appeal for the CRTC to, once again, to grant us Fee For Carriage, which is absolutely necessary
for us if we're gonna prevent more happenings like yesterday from occurring again.
If the CRTC doesn't change the structure substantively for conventional television, doesn't change
the rules by which we function, you're gonna see a lot more days like yesterday where local
programs are gonna be cancelled, and even whole televisions stations closed.
>> Sandra: And it does a community a great disservice --
if I may get on my soapbox, it really does.
>> Richard: It absolutely does the community a great disservice, for sure.
>> Sandra: Well I want to thank you for coming in this morning to sort through it
with our viewers.
>> Richard: No problem.
>> Sandra: Vice President and General Manager Richard Gray, joining us this morning.