Claassen plans to add ‘wow’ to first TV asset

CKX to run 'extremely local' programming, targeting women by day and men in the evening, following purchase by Bruce Claassen. And Bluepoint is looking to add to its TV station portfolio.

Bluepoint Investment Corporation has bought CKX, taking the Brandon, MB, station from CTV for the modest price of $1. The company plans to re-program the A channel station with ‘extremely local’ and what it calls ‘wow television,’ says founder and owner Bruce Claassen.

Chairman of the Toronto firm Aegis Media Canada and CEO of Genesis-Vizeum, Claassen plans to program CKX with male-aimed and more sensationalist shows in the evening, in the vein of Spike TV, while targeting women during the day.

The station is about to lose its affiliation with CBC, though Claassen hopes to make a deal with the pubcaster for shows on a ‘menu’ basis – picking mostly news and other information programming. Bluepoint is also in talks with E1 Entertainment and Alliance for movies and other programming.

The station’s 39 employees are expected to keep their jobs. ‘Our assumption is that it’s business as usual,’ he says. The deal is subject to CRTC approval.

Bluepoint is a new company, founded three months ago and fronted by CEO Colin Berrie. It has no other broadcasting assets, though Claassen says it plans to make other purchases, focusing on local, community stations.

Claassen also plans to focus on ‘extremely local’ programming. ‘If they’ve got a drag race going on down the street, we follow that. It’s going to be something that will give them both entertainment plus a sense of community,’ he says.

CKX is one of the three stations that CTV planned to shut down if they were not sold off by the end of the summer, citing the financial and regulatory difficulties of conventional television.

Claassen is not put off by the problems facing conventional, local stations. Buying in ‘makes all the sense in the world,’ he says. ‘If you look at many media industries, the ones that seem to be the most successful are the ones that are closest to people’s hearts.’

‘The local daily newspaper might be hurting but the community newspaper is still doing well, and part of that reason is because they are extremely local and extremely connected to their communities. In final analysis I think that has got some power,’ he adds.

From Playback Daily