Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton Sports Stations Eliminated – Toronto Sports Media Blog
by TSM & Mike
Bell earlier this am flipped the switch at three stations from regular programming to ESPN radio with staff being alerted that their station was being gutted today, transitioned away from Sports. Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Hamilton are the stations gutted.
Sounds like later this week, Bell Media will announce the TSN stations in Winnipeg and Vancouver will be altered to their “Funny format”.
That’s using stand-up comedy and other content.
— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) February 9, 2021
The rationale for the decision is as follows:
“While these are relatively modest changes to our overall radio business (we have more than 100 stations in 58 markets across the country), they align with our strategy of focusing on serving the largest possible audiences with the content they want the most while leveraging the efficiencies of our broader organization.” – Bell Management email
We are also hearing details about that this decision was not announced to staff prior to the shut down, and that employees were told they had 30 minutes to remove their personal belongings from the premises.
We have many questions, but the most pressing one is why Bell is walking away from a market like Vancouver, where they have been the voice of sports for more than a decade. Sportsnet has been competing with them for the last three years but TSN1040 is still winning the ratings battles. To provide some context, imagine if FAN590 walked away from sports radio 5 years ago? What possible explanation would have been convincing for why this was a good decision?
We have been talking about the demise of sports radio as a format for a few years now, but there is still lots of money to be made, especially for brig media brands like Rogers and Bell. Sports radio helps fuel sports media in general, which in turn sells cable subscriptions and cell phone packages. To see the incumbent just walk away from a market like Vancouver is shocking. What do they know about the future that would make this make sense?
Full update to come later in the day. Please reach out to us if you have info to share.