This disconnection from reality is what killed them. They cut back local programming and then wondered why people didn't watch the station for shows from the US. The station starved out its staff. While teeming with production people, most of them were part-time: always hungry for more hours-- always willing to jockey for favour. This starvation permeated through the whole station: newscasters would go through the nearby Wendy's drive-thru and their bank cards would bounce when they tried to buy a $6 meal. Which is worst: you don't know you're down to $6-; you're down to less than $6 and you can't brown bag it; or that you're forced to eat at Wendy's?
Several weeks ago, the staff came up with a great idea! They could buy the station-- just like the Harmac mill became employee owned. They forgot several things:
- The Harmac mill deal took months to put together; and the mill had effectively folded up in the meantime.
- The public has known that the future of Chek-TV were in doubt for almost a year. Maybe the staff knew it longer. They waited until the summer to begin to put an employee purchase plan together. Too late.
- The transfer would be at the mercy of the Federal government-- the bureaucracy would tick through at its usual speed and take several months to resolve. While the deal churns, CanWest Global would still own the station and all the debt that came with its business-as-usual approach.
- The Harmac mill closed when the industry hit bottom. It opened at the initial stages of demand rebound. Mass media has much farther to fall: the other CanWest artifact: the Times Colonist is circling the drain: knocked down by the Internet, Craigslist and internal rot.
After midnight, Victoria BC and Vancouver Island will go back to being a one TV station market. In the war of the mega-media, this is one element of the CanWest media conglomerate that is getting turfed from our region. To take back our media and local news delivery, shaking off CanWest is key. I will miss Chek-Six / Chek-TV / Chek / CH / CHTV, etc. but natural selection did it in.
After tonight, there will still be news sources you can use: http://mike.dewolfe.bc.ca/victorianews