Several TV newscasts will shut down, and thousands of employees will be laid off as Canada’s largest media and telecom company cuts news stations, dozens of regional radio sites, and programs.
Bell Media sent employees an internal memo on February 8, which said news stations, including CTV and BNN Bloomberg, would shut down effective immediately. The company said 4,800 of its 44,610 employees will be laid off, including news correspondents and technician teams reporting to CTV National News in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. Ottowas will also see correspondent changes.
It will sell 45 of its 103 regional radio stations in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.
This is a hard hit for those still attached to cable TV and tuning into these stations and programs, but less so for cord cutters and cord never households that already stream news from other sources. About 32% of Canada still watches cable TV, according to Media Canada, and 59% said they use both paid TV and subscription video-on-demand services. Those with Prime Video can catch coverage through Bell Media’s Crave streaming channel, which will launch on Prime Video soon.
Along with these station changes, Bell Media’s parent company, BCE Inc., will cull 9% of its workforce in an open letter signed by Mirko Bibic, chief executive of BCE Inc. That totals 4,800 employees across “all levels of the company,” less than 10% of which will come from Bell Media. The company altered some employees on February 8 and will announce more by this spring. Bibic plans to use vacancies and “natural attrition” to minimize layoffs.
The memo was signed by Richard Gray, vice president of news at Bell Media, and Dave Daigle, vice president of local TV, radio, and Bell Media Studios. It said weekday noon newscasts at all CTV stations, excluding Toronto, will end. Weekend 6:00 p.m. newscasts were cut across all CTV and CTV2 stations, except in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.
CTV’s longest-running investigative series, W5, will evolve from a standalone documentary series to a “multi-part, multiplatform investigative reporting unit” with segments featured on CTV National News, CTV News online, and other CTV platforms. Bell Media will end evening programs on CTV News Channel, including The Debate, This Hour, and Top 3 Tonight. It will be replaced with a four-hour news broadcast airing on weeknights at 6:00 p.m.
Unifor, a union representing employees, said 800 members were laid off from Bell Media. The media sector lost 100, while the rest came from the telecom sector. This isn’t the first time in recent years Bell announced layoffs. In 2023, the company cut 1,300 positions, shut down or sold nine radio stations, and closed two foreign news bureaus, according to CBC. However, this is the largest round of layoffs in almost 30 years and the second since last spring, Bibic confirmed during a conference call yesterday, according to CBC.