News Local

Barrie A-Channel in survival mode

By Raymond Bowe, Barrie Examiner

Two dozen jobs have been eliminated at A-Channel Barrie, placing the local television station in survival mode, part of sweeping changes by the parent company as it laid off almost 120 people yesterday.

"This plan is really a survival plan," station manager Peggy Hebden said yesterday. "It's not intended to just fix things."

Parent company CTV Television announced it's slashing 118 jobs at its A-Channel television stations, and cancelling three morning shows -- including Barrie's -- effective immediately. The local layoffs reduce the Barrie station's work force from 74 to 50.

There are also A-Channel stations in Ottawa, London, Windsor, Wingham, Victoria and Halifax. The cuts represent about 28% of the overall staff. The Wingham and Windsor licences won't be renewed in August.

"This is pretty deep for our company, the deepest we've ever done," said Hebden, who has worked at the station for 35 years.

To fill the 6 a. m. to 9 a. m. time slot, the station will replace the short-lived morning show -- launched in September and well received, Hebden said -- with repeats of the evening and nightly newscasts, with an updated ticker to include items such as bus cancellations.

Beginning this weekend, A-Channel Barrie will resurrect its live news broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday nights, which it hadn't been doing since December.

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