I was in bed Tuesday morning when I received a text from my boss.
“You missed the meeting this morning. Please call.”
I did a double-take to check the time. It was 10:24am. My weekly meeting was usually at noon. I figured it must have been a rescheduled mobile meeting and they didn’t put me into the loop. It happens every so often. I tried calling back but it went to voicemail.
This time, my boss called me on the phone. He said, “we had a big meeting. The mandatory notice was emailed to all staff.” I get almost 50 emails a day, and that was one I completely overlooked. I immediately apologized.
He then gave me a briefing. 8 people from our department were laid off (half of our staff). 6 from the English side, 2 from the French side. I was spared from the cuts. He then said that layoffs also affected community TV stations in Toronto, as well.
In all, four community television stations in the Greater Toronto Area (Richmond Hill, Brampton, Mississauga and Peel) were all shut down. Durham community TV was also affected with half of the staff laid off.
We were told about this possibility almost a year ago. The Canadian Radio and Television Commission (Canada’s FCC) made a decision to cut community TV by approximately 25 percent. It was made at the behest of over the air TV networks who wanted that money to help stop the bleeding in their operations and to invest that money into more local broadcasts.
Shaw TV also became the beneficiaries of that agreement. They, in-turn, shut down community TV stations in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton and would use the savings to improve local programming for their Global affiliates.
For those who don’t know, community television is a proving ground for many in the broadcasting industry in the US and Canada. More so in Canada, many have gone on to work in network
It also didn’t help that more people are “cutting the cord” to cable television. More and more people are opting for online subscription services. like “Netflix”. YouTube just recently announced over the air broadcast subscriptions of major networks in the United States.
We knew the brevity of technology changing. We knew that the decisions being made were going to basically lead to a but we never anticipated how devastating it would be to our family. I say “family” because it was like we were family. We did many things together, like barbecues, company gatherings, hockey games. And like family, we were given this news like we were in a car accident and we were the survivors.
I ran into a few of the unfortunate lost souls. I gave my goodbyes. I tried to keep a game face on it. Those who did survive knew we still have a job to do. With less resources at our disposal, we need to be more creative.
For me, it was a blessing. I can only thank God for that. It tells me that my work isn’t finished yet.
There is still work to be done…more goals to be reached.