Television journalists work before the announcement of the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, in Ottawa on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. As many as 40 local television outlets and up to 200 Canadian radio stations could be forced to close in the next three years as the pandemic adds to financial pressures media companies were facing before COVID-19, according to a new study from a media advocacy group. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Media study says hundreds of Canadian radio stations, TV outlets risk closure

Radio stations may be hardest hit in the short term, the report suggests

As many as 40 local television outlets and 200 Canadian radio stations could be forced to close in the next three years as the financial pressures faced by media companies intensify under the COVID-19 pandemic, suggests a new study from an industry advocacy group.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters issued a report on Wednesday warning of potential closures and widespread job cuts as private TV and radio broadcasters face a cumulative projected revenue shortfall of up to $1.06 billion by the end of 2022.

Most vulnerable are the country’s AM radio stations, the report said, as well as other independent private radio and TV operations in smaller markets across the country.

The study, titled “The Crisis in Canadian Media and the Future of Local Broadcasting,” was commissioned by the CAB, which represents the majority of private broadcasters in Canada, and conducted through Winnipeg-based independent media economics consultancy Communications Management Inc.

The CAB says it’s concerned about the fallout from a substantial erosion in local advertising revenues over recent months.

Radio stations may be hardest hit in the short term, the report suggests, partly due to many advertisers pulling back on their spending in the pandemic and hastening a decline in the media industry’s revenues.

Private radio ad revenues are expected to be $383 million below last year, it said.

The report’s projections suggest that without further government support those declines could mean as many as 50 private local radio stations go out of business over the next four to six months.

Another 150 radio stations could topple in the 18 months that follow, it said, leading to as many as 2,000 job losses.

TV stations could risk a similar fate with roughly 40 of Canada’s 94 private TV broadcasters in danger of closing within one to three years, the research predicts.

The CAB is calling on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to take swift action by establishing a “more fair and sustainable future” for local media.

Last month, the organization sent an emergency application to the CRTC requesting permission for broadcasters to be relieved of certain terms of their agreements, such as spending requirements on Canadian programming, for the broadcast year that ends Aug. 31.

Lenore Gibson, chair of the CAB, said broadcasters have “done their utmost to cut expenses” in areas such as administration, and “the last thing that they want to do is cut into programming costs, but that’s the only area that’s left now.”

The CAB is urging the federal government to provide emergency regulatory relief as well as greater “targeted support” for the industry starting this fall.

Without greater financial measures in place, the CAB says the effects could leave many communities with only national and international media organizations to provide them with most of their news, effectively eliminating most community coverage of local politics, health and education in some regions of the country.

ALSO READ: City-centre businesses mount slower recovery than rural areas, CFIB says

David Friend, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Media industryMovies and TVRadio

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
EDITORIAL: The power of a single vote

In the Oct. 24 British Columbia election, every vote is important

Vernon’s Davison Orchards says it is closing its pumpkin patch for the rest of the season after receiving notice from Interior Health that U-Pick Fields are classified as an Event. Pumpkins are still for sale at the orchard’s market. (Facebook photo)
Vernon orchard closes pumpkin field after IH notice

Interior Health tells Davison Orchards U-pick fields are an ‘event;’ pumpkins now sold at market

Advance polling closes today at 8 p.m. in Vernon. Pictured: Schubert Centre. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Last day to cast early vote in Vernon

More than 15 per cent of eligible Vernon voters cast ballot in advance polling

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Kelowna RCMP investigating unexplained death of cattle

Cattle found dead near gravel road, east of the Kelowna Airport

Vernon Fire Rescue Services work to put out a structure fire in an abandoned house on Highway 97 and 39th Avenue Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
UPDATE: Vernon house fire under control

Single-lane traffic remains in effect on Highway 97 in both directions

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen is launching an initiative to provide horse-assisted therapy to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic (Black Press file photo)
Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen to provide horse-assisted therapy

Therapy sessions will be offered to frontline workers during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Brody Peterson said he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
‘This is a big outdoor space’: Grand Forks man behind backyard party to fight COVID tickets

Homeowner Brody Peterson said he’ll dispute tickets for refusing police instructions, alleged COVID violations

Paul Singla walks towards his Penticton home on Heather Road in 2018 after CBSA officers raided it. (File photo)
Singla and Toor make first court appearances on immigration fraud

The Okanagan men had their cases adjourned until 2021

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Most Read