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

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

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Bids for Kids poster
Wolf Creek Youth Foundation online auction gets ‘overwhelming’ response

Santa’s Bids for Kids auction to benefit youth programs in Ponoka and Rimbey

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

A sign instructs people to wear masks in downtown Calgary on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Pub and restaurant owners are trying to figure out how to comply with a stricter COVID-19 measure in Alberta that dictates only six people from the same household can sit at one table. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Brewpub owner pleased Alberta not closing sit-down dining as COVID-19 cases soar

Alberta’s caseload of COVID-19 infections has been growing for weeks

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at B.C. campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

A pedestrian wears masks while out walking in front of the Alberta Legislature as the COVID-19 numbers spike in Edmonton on Tuesday November 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Doctor says Alberta restrictions not enough to reduceCOVID-19 strain on hospitals

Mithani notes people are still allowed to gather indoors at large places of worship and in bars,

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Most Read