News Local

Rogers cuts staff

Cheryl Browne

By Cheryl Browne, Barrie Examiner

Fears that Barrie’s Rogers TV station will close are unfounded.

Yet more than 33 full-time staff has been laid off since Rogers TV abruptly closed four stations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA): two of them as late as Tuesday.

One full-time employee was let go in Barrie due to the cuts, said Stephanie Leslie, manager of communications at Rogers headquarters.

She said there are no further plans for layoffs at the Barrie station.

“The station has not closed and will continue to operate as usual,” Leslie said.

However, Leslie said the Rogers TV regional stations, which include both Richmond Hill and Mississauga, closed Tuesday with 23 people losing their jobs.

Additionally, Rogers TV stations in Brampton and Toronto closed in February with a loss of 10 full-time positions.

Leslie said the channels will remain on-air, sharing a single feed with a modified schedule until Aug. 31st.

“In the interim, Rogers will offer a single Rogers TV channel across the GTA, featuring a mix of community programming and city council coverage,” she said.

In September, these four channels will become a free preview station for Canadian specialty channels, she said.

Leslie said the cuts in Barrie’s personnel were due to a 25% reduction in available funding to all community channels under a new Rogers framework.

"Earlier this year the CRTC ruled to reduce community television funding from 2% of basic cable revenues to 1.5%. As a result of this decision, we’ve been looking at Rogers’s entire television portfolio to make the necessary adjustments to continue to deliver quality local content in the markets where we are needed most.," Leslie said.

In addition to staff losing their jobs at Rogers TV, dozens of volunteers - many of them journalism students – are also looking for new placements as well.

However, Leslie said Rogers will continue to operate stations in small and medium-sized communities across Ontario and the Atlantic region.

“(We’ll be) providing a distinct and unique voice and locally reflective programming in communities currently underserved by conventional television,” Leslie said.

 

CBrowne@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/cherylbrowne1

 

 



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