More than 40 laid off at Bell Media

Production and post-production positions were let go, along with several on-air hosts and journalists.
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Bell Media held a round of layoffs last week with an estimated 50 jobs cut across its national network, according to the union Unifor.

Howard Law, director of the media sector at Unifor, outlined the various layoffs to MiC. He said the union had confirmed more than 40, but the union’s position is an “estimated 50″ jobs were terminated because some of Bell Media’s local stations are non-unionized and the final total may have been under-reported.

Scott Henderson, VP of communications with Bell Media, confirmed to MiC that there were layoffs last week, but would not confirm the number.

Henderson issued a statement to MiC saying Bell Media is “confronting rapid change in the media marketplace,” which includes growing international competition and new viewing options. His statement confirmed that local radio and TV stations are “facing significant declines in advertising.”

“We need to reorganize and reduce costs to manage the impact.”

Both part-time and full-time employees were affected, with most layoffs coming from production, post-production and administration departments. Several reporters and hosts were also laid off, including CFTO Sportscasters Joe Tilley and Lance Brown, Ottawa CTV 2 hosts Melissa Lamb and Lianne Laing, and BNN host Michael Kane. At least one sales supervisor was laid off.

Henderson added that Bell Media has continued to invest in new content production for digital platforms such as CraveTV, and is currently hiring 40 digital media specialists to support the growth of its digital products.

In its official statement on the layoffs, Unifor media council chair Jake Moore laid blame on the CRTC. “We warned the CRTC that tough licensing conditions would be required if big media companies were granted five-year licenses for local news,” said Moore.