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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ctv cuts 24 staff at canada a.m, axes montreal morning show

More layoffs for Canadian media types. From Google News Canada

CTV Television Inc. has laid off more than 24 employees at its Canada AM morning show, and axed its last remaining early morning local newscast in the country, as it continues to grapple with costs as advertising revenues fall and the economy weakens.

The national broadcaster said late Tuesday that it was laying off Canada AM staff members who produce local news segments exclusively for single-markets, rather than on the show's national broadcast.

The job cuts will impact operations across the country, with the exception of the Toronto and Halifax studios.

"These are local cuts, not Canada AM cuts," said spokesman Scott Henderson in an email to The Canadian Press.

CTV also announced the cancellation of First News in Montreal, which will cause three CTV employees to lose their jobs and leave a vacant position unfilled.

The latest round of cuts come as CTV slashes news operations across the country to battle with declining advertising revenues as companies rein in their budgets.

Several markets across the country will lose their local news inserts, which were part of the Canada AM broadcast which aired exclusively in their market.

CTV British Columbia general manager Tom Haberstroh said viewers will continue to see major local stories from across the country.

"What we'll continue to do is have our local ticker (on the TV screen) ... with constant headlines traffic and weather," he said.

CTV, owned by CTVglobemedia (TSX:BCE, TSX:TS.B), has been reducing costs as it struggles to contend with the economic downturn and financial problems in the conventional Canadian television broadcast industry.

Last month, the company slashed 118 jobs at its A Channel television stations, cancelled the evening and nightly newscasts at its Ottawa station, and the three-hour local morning shows in Victoria, London and Barrie.

CTV also said it will not seek to renew the licences for two southwestern Ontario A Channel stations - CKNX-TV in Wingham and CHWI-TV in Wheatley and Windsor - when they expire at the end of August.

Another CTV-owned station, CKX-TV Brandon in Manitoba, is also on the chopping block with the broadcasting saying that it'll close down the operations if it can't find a buyer.

The moves are part of industry-wide cuts and streamlining that involve other major broadcasters like Canwest Global Communications Corp. (TSX:CGS).

The networks have said the CRTC's decision last fall to deny fee-for-carriage charges - which are essentially subscriber fees - would have pumped up to $300 million in additional money into the broadcast industry.

CTV's First News, which aired at 6 a.m. ET, will be replaced by the first half-hour of the national broadcast of Canada AM.